PSC: CA, CS, ICDS, IES, ILPDS, IPDS, ISRA, RECONR, SCPS, TSA, TST;
OCO-OEIO: BIES, CR, PETL, RECONR, RECOVR;
OCO-ODO: BTE, CR, CST, CTE, CTE TE, PETE, PETL, RCOVTA, RECOVR;
FO/TSC: CS, CS TII, CS TXVI, CSR, CTE, FR, OA, OS, RR, TA, TSC-CSR;
Summary of Changes
GN 03970.011 Unqualified Non-Attorney and Attorney Representatives
We changed the title of this section to "Potentially Unqualified Attorney and Non-Attorney Representatives" to better follow the organization of GN 03910.020A. We added an introductory paragraph to articulate the actions the agency may take if a representative does not meet certain qualifications for representatives.
Subsection A - Policy for who is an unqualified non-attorney
Subsection B - Policy for who is an unqualified attorney
We deleted subsections A.1 and A.2, bullet points, and B, bullet points, from this section, as the qualifications information for an attorney and non-attorney representative is already in GN 03910.020A.
We created two new subsections in this section. In the new subsection A, titled "Procedure for handling pending claims, matters, or issues with a potentially unqualified attorney representative," we added a reference to GN 03910.020A.1 for qualifications a prospective attorney representative must meet, and moved the information previously provided in subsection B, NOTE, into this subsection. In the new subsection B, titled "Procedures for handling pending claims, matters, or issues with a potentially unqualified non-attorney representative," we added a reference to GN 03910.020A.2 for qualifications a prospective non-attorney must meet, and moved the information previously provided in subsection A, NOTE and last paragraph, into this subsection. We also added language to both new subsections to clarify that after we refer potentially unqualified representatives to the Office of the General Counsel, we must continue to recognize certain non-attorneys and attorneys as the claimant's appointed representative prior to the agency's final disqualification or suspension decision.
GN 03970.030 Action to Suspend, Disqualify, or Withdraw Charges Against a Representative by the Office of the General Counsel
Subsection C - Policy for representative's answer
We changed the time the representative has to respond to the General Counsel's charges from 30 to 14 business days (20 CFR 404.1750(c) and 416.1550(c)). We also clarified when the hearing officer may decide the charges based on the record without holding a hearing.
We made editorial changes throughout the section.
GN 03970.035 Office of Hearings Operations (OHO) Action on Referral of a Record for a Hearing
We changed the title of this section to "Office of Hearings Operations (OHO)'s Administration of a Hearing on Charges Against a Representative," to better capture the information provided in this section.
Subsection A- Policy for OHO's processing of the request for a hearing by a representative and designation of a hearing officer
We revised the title of the subsection to "Policy for OHO's designation of a hearing officer," and corrected the HALLEX reference and hyperlink to I-1-1-52B, which provides companion information on hearings on the charges.
We also deleted the last paragraph of this subsection in its entirety, as the information in this paragraph repeats the information in GN 03970.030.
Subsection B - Policy for hearing officer's duties for hearing for representatives
We changed the time the hearing officer has to mail the notice of hearing to the parties from 20 to 14 calendar days prior to the date of the hearing, and specified the methods the hearing officer may use to conduct the hearing (20 CFR 404.1765(c) and 416.1565(c)).
We added language to clarify that the hearing officer will not consider objections to the manner of appearance without a showing of good cause (20 CFR 404.1765(d) and 416.1565(d)). We added a new NOTE to clarify each party may file a motion for a decision based on the record of the case (20 CFR 404.1765(g) and 416.1565(g)).
We made editorial changes throughout this section.
GN 03970.050 Hearing Office Decision on the Charges
We modified the title of this section to "Hearing Officer's Decision on the Charges," to mirror the title of regulatory provisions 20 CFR 404.1770 and 416.1570.
Subsection A - Policy on hearing officer's decision
We updated the references "Appointed Representative Database" to "Registration, Appointment and Services for Representatives (RASR)" and for "Representative Disqualification/Suspension Information System of Records" to "Representative Disqualification, Suspension and Non-Recognition Information File" to reflect the current names for these systems.
Subsection B - Policy for appeals and the role of the Appeals Council in an appeal of the hearing officer's decision
We changed the time to request Appeals Council review of a hearing officer's decision from 30 to 14 business days (20 CFR 404.1775(b) and 416.1575(b)). We also made minor editorial changes in this subsection.
Subsection C - Reinstatement of a suspended or disqualified representative
We deleted the language "if the suspension is longer than a year" from this subsection, given the minimum suspension period under 20 CFR 404.1770(a)(3)(i) and 416.1570(a)(3)(i) is one year.
We added language to indicate the waiting period before a representative may apply for reinstatement after receiving a prior denial of a request for reinstatement is three years (20 CFR 404.1799(f) and 416.1599(f)).
We fixed a broken hyperlink to List of Sanctioned Representatives.
Subsection D - References
We deleted this subsection in its entirety to remove the outdated reference.