TN 3 (01-89)

GN 04001.100 Reopenings - Change in Ruling or Legal Interpretation — Change of Position

A. Introduction

A change of position (COP) occurs when a policy or legal precedent previously adhered to in the adjudication of cases, which was correct and reasonable when made, is changed as a result of subsequent court decisions or other applicable legal precedents or new policy considerations.

The rules in this section are the rules which we follow in COP. However, if the implementing instructions with any specific COP vary from these, follow the implementing instructions.

Instructions issued at the time of the COP will advise what constitutes a questioning in writing by SSA in that particular COP situation.

B. Operating Procedure


Benefits are paid or adjusted based on a COP effective with the date of the COP, unless the implementing instructions specify otherwise.


COP and reopening apply to the following cases (unless the implementing instructions specify otherwise):

  1. a. 

    All initial and appeal cases which are pending (see GN 04040.030 in earnings discrepancy cases).

  2. b. 

    All cases questioned in writing, by SSA or the claimant, within 1 year of the date of the initial determination where:

    • The questioning was after the COP; or

    • The questioning had not been disposed of at the time of the COP.

  3. c. 

    All previously disallowed cases where a new application is filed . Where a. or b. above is not applicable, give any award the usual retroactivity based on the new application.

  4. d. 

    All cases previously awarded where an increase in the amount of the benefit results. Where a. or b. above is not applicable, the increase will be effective with the month the claimant or SSA takes some action in writing questioning the correctness of the award. The action in writing could be the filing of a new claim by the claimant.

  5. e. 

    All post-entitlement (PE) cases will be handled following the same policies as indicated in a. through d. above. COP usually applies in a PE situation with regard to deduction determinations. It is also possible in PE cases that an initial determination has not been made previously on the PE issue. The COP would also be applicable in these cases.

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GN 04001.100 - Reopenings - Change in Ruling or Legal Interpretation — Change of Position - 09/09/2011
Batch run: 04/25/2016