20 CFR § 416.1590 - Appeals Council's decision.
(a) The Appeals Council will base its decision upon the evidence in the hearing record and any other evidence it may permit on review. The Appeals Council will affirm the hearing officer's decision if the action, findings, and conclusions are supported by substantial evidence. If the hearing officer's decision is not supported by substantial evidence, the Appeals Council will either:
(1) Reverse or modify the hearing officer's decision; or
(2) Return a case to the hearing officer for further proceedings.
(b) The Appeals Council, in changing a hearing officer's decision to suspend a representative for a specified period, shall in no event reduce the period of suspension to less than 1 year. In modifying a hearing officer's decision to disqualify a representative, the Appeals Council shall in no event impose a period of suspension of less than 1 year. Further, the Appeals Council shall in no event impose a suspension when disqualification is the sole sanction available in accordance with § 416.1570(a)(3)(ii).
(c) If the Appeals Council affirms or changes a hearing officer's decision, the period of suspension or the disqualification is effective from the date of the Appeals Council's decision.
(d) If the hearing officer did not impose a period of suspension or a disqualification, and the Appeals Council decides to impose one or the other, the suspension or disqualification is effective from the date of the Appeals Council's decision.
(e) The Appeals Council shall make its decision in writing and shall mail a copy of the decision to the parties at their last known addresses.
(f) The Appeals Council may designate and publish certain final decisions as precedent for other actions brought under its representative conduct provisions. Prior to making a decision public, we will remove or redact personally identifiable information from the decision.