45 U.S. Code § 355 - Claims for benefits
Claims for benefits and appeals from determinations with respect thereto shall be made in accordance with such regulations as the Board shall prescribe. Each employer shall post and maintain, in places readily accessible to employees in his service, such printed statements concerning such regulations as the Board supplies to him for such purpose, and shall keep available to his employees copies of such printed statements. Such printed statements shall be supplied by the Board to each employer without cost to him.
The Board is authorized and directed to make findings of fact with respect to any claim for benefits and to make decisions as to the right of any claimant to benefits. The Board is further authorized to hold such hearings, to conduct such investigations and other proceedings, and to establish, by regulations or otherwise, such procedures as it may deem necessary or proper for the determination of a right to benefits. When a claim for benefits is filed with the Board, the Board shall provide notice of such claim to the claimant’s base-year employer or employers and afford such employer or employers an opportunity to submit information relevant to the claim before making an initial determination on the claim. When the Board initially determines to pay benefits to a claimant under this chapter, the Board shall provide notice of such determination to the claimant’s base-year employer or employers.
The Board shall prescribe regulations governing the filing of cases with and the decision of cases by reviewing bodies, and the review of such decisions. The Board may provide for intermediate reviews of such decisions by such bodies as the Board may establish or assign thereto. The Board may (i) on its own motion review a decision of an intermediate reviewing body on the basis of the evidence previously submitted in such case, and may direct the taking of additional evidence, or (ii) permit such parties as it finds properly interested in the proceedings to take appeals to the Board. Unless a review or an appeal is had pursuant to this subsection, the decision of an intermediate reviewing body shall, subject to such regulations as the Board may prescribe, be deemed to be the final decision of the Board.
In any proceeding other than a court proceeding, the rules of evidence prevailing in courts of law or equity shall not be controlling, but a full and complete record shall be kept of all proceedings and testimony, and the Board’s final determination, together with its findings of fact and conclusions of law in connection therewith, shall be communicated to the parties within fifteen days after the date of such final determination.
Any claimant, or any railway labor organization organized in accordance with the provisions of the Railway Labor Act [45 U.S.C. 151 et seq.], of which claimant is a member, or any base-year employer of the claimant, or any other party aggrieved by a final decision under subsection (c) of this section, may, only after all administrative remedies within the Board will have been availed of and exhausted, obtain a review of any final decision of the Board by filing a petition for review within ninety days after the mailing of notice of such decision to the claimant or other party, or within such further time as the Board may allow, in the United States court of appeals for the circuit in which the claimant or other party resides or will have had his principal place of business or principal executive office, or in the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit or in the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. A copy of such petition, together with initial process, shall forth-with be served upon the Board or any officer designated by it for such purpose. A copy of such petition also shall forthwith be served upon any other properly interested party, and such party shall be a party to the review proceeding. Service may be made upon the Board by registered mail addressed to the Chairman. Within thirty days after receipt of service, or within such additional time as the court may allow, the Board shall file with the court in which such petition has been filed the record upon which the findings and decision complained of are based, as provided in section 2112 of title 28. Upon the filing of such petition the court shall have exclusive jurisdiction of the proceeding and of the question determined therein. It shall have power to enter a decree affirming, modifying, or reversing the decision of the Board, with or without remanding the cause for rehearing. The findings of the Board as to the facts, if supported by evidence and in the absence of fraud, shall be conclusive. No additional evidence shall be received by the court but the court may order additional evidence to be taken before the Board, and the Board may, after hearing such additional evidence, modify its findings of fact and conclusions and file such additional or modified findings and conclusions with the court, and the Board shall file with the court the additional record. The judgment and decree of the court shall be final, subject to review as in equity cases.
An applicant for review of a final decision of the Board concerning a claim for benefits shall not be liable for costs, including costs of service, or costs of printing records, except that costs may be assessed by the court against such applicant if the court determines that the proceedings for such review have been instituted or continued without reasonable ground.
Findings of fact and conclusions of law of the Board in the determination of any claim for benefits or refund, the determination of any other matter pursuant to subsection (c) of this section, and the determination of the Board that the unexpended funds in the account are available for the payment of any claim for benefits or refund under this chapter, shall be, except as provided in subsection (f) of this section, binding and conclusive for all purposes and upon all persons, including the Comptroller General and any other administrative or accounting officer, employee, or agent of the United States, and shall not be subject to review in any manner other than that set forth in subsection (f) of this section.
Except as may be otherwise prescribed by regulations of the Board, benefits payable with respect to any period prior to the date of a final decision of the Board with respect to a claim therefor, shall be paid only after such final decision.
No claimant or other properly interested person claiming benefits shall be charged fees of any kind by the Board, its employees or representatives, with respect to such claim. Any such claimant or other properly interested person may be represented by counsel or other duly authorized agent, in any proceeding before the Board or its representatives or a court, but no such counsel or agent for a claimant shall either charge or receive for such services more than an amount approved by the Board or by the court before whom the proceedings of the Board are reviewed. Any person who violates any provision of this subsection shall be punished by a fine of not more than $10,000 or by imprisonment not exceeding one year.
This chapter, referred to in subsecs. (b), (c)(4), (5), and (g), was in the original “this Act”, meaning act June 25, 1938, ch. 680, 52 Stat. 1094, which enacted this chapter and amended sections 503 and 1104 and former section 1107 of Title 42, The Public Health and Welfare. For complete classification of this Act to the Code, see section 367 of this title and Tables.
The Railway Labor Act, referred to in subsec. (f), is act May 20, 1926, ch. 347, 44 Stat. 577, as amended, which is classified principally to chapter 8 (§ 151 et seq.) of this title. For complete classification of this Act to the Code, see section 151 of this title and Tables.
In subsec. (f), “Courts of Appeals”, “United States court of appeals for the circuit”, “United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit” substituted for “Circuit Courts of Appeals”, “United States circuit court of appeals for the circuit”, and “United States Circuit Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit”, respectively, on authority of act June 25, 1948, § 32(a), as amended by act May 24, 1949, § 127. “United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia” substituted for “Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia” pursuant to act June 7, 1934, ch. 426, 48 Stat. 926.
1988—Subsec. (b). Pub. L. 100–647, § 7104(a), inserted at end “When a claim for benefits is filed with the Board, the Board shall provide notice of such claim to the claimant’s base-year employer or employers and afford such employer or employers an opportunity to submit information relevant to the claim before making an initial determination on the claim. When the Board initially determines to pay benefits to a claimant under this chapter, the Board shall provide notice of such determination to the claimant’s base-year employer or employers.”
Subsec. (c)(1). Pub. L. 100–647, § 7401(b)(1), (2), inserted “(1)” after “(c)” and inserted at end “In any such case the Board or the person or reviewing body so established or assigned shall, by publication or otherwise, notify all parties properly interested of their right to participate in the hearing and of the time and place of the hearing.”
Subsec. (c)(2). Pub. L. 100–647, § 7104(b)(3), inserted “(2)” before “Any claimant whose claim”.
Subsec. (c)(3). Pub. L. 100–647, § 7104(b)(4), added par. (3).
Subsec. (c)(4). Pub. L. 100–647, § 7104(b)(5), inserted “(4)” before “In any case in which”.
Subsec. (c)(5). Pub. L. 100–647, § 7104(b)(6), (7), inserted “(5)” before “Final decision of the Board” and substituted “preceding three paragraphs” for “preceding two paragraphs”.
Subsec. (c)(6). Pub. L. 100–647, § 7104(b)(8), added par. (6).
Subsec. (c)(7). Pub. L. 100–647, § 7104(b)(9), inserted “(7)” before “Any issue determinable”.
Subsec. (f). Pub. L. 100–647, § 7104(c), inserted “or any base-year employer of the claimant,” after “member,” and inserted after second sentence “A copy of such petition also shall forthwith be served upon any other properly interested party, and such party shall be a party to the review proceeding.”
1984—Subsec. (f). Pub. L. 98–620 struck out provision requiring court to give precedence in adjudication of petition over all other civil cases not otherwise entitled by law to precedence.
1981—Subsec. (f). Pub. L. 97–35 substituted “Within thirty days” for “Within fifteen days”.
1958—Subsec. (f). Pub. L. 85–791, in fourth sentence, struck out “certify and” after “shall” and “a transcript of” after “filed”, and inserted “as provided in section 2112 of title 28”; in fifth sentence, substituted “the filing of such petition” for “such filing”; in sixth sentence, struck out “upon the pleadings and transcript of the record,” after “enter”; and in eighth sentence struck out “a transcript of” before “the additional record”.
1946—Subsec. (c). Act July 31, 1946, § 311, struck out provisions for district boards, placing their functions in referees or such other reviewing bodies as Board may establish; changed third par. to allow Board to determine if a person or company is covered by this chapter regardless of whether or not benefit claims are pending; and added last par.
Subsec. (d). Act July 31, 1946, § 312, changed references to district boards to refer to reviewing bodies.
Subsec. (e). Act July 31, 1946, § 313, struck out provisions restricting subsection to proceedings on a claim for benefits.
Subsec. (f). Act July 31, 1946, § 314, changed first sentence to provide for review by circuit courts of appeals instead of district courts.
Subsec. (g). Act July 31, 1946, § 315, inserted reference to determination of any other matter pursuant to subsec. (c) of this section.
Subsec. (i). Act July 31, 1946, § 316, extended provisions to other properly interested persons besides a claimant.
1940—Subsec. (c). Act Oct. 10, 1940, substituted provisions relating to a fair hearing for each qualified employee for provisions relating to a fair hearing for each claimant, and added paragraphs relating to review for claimants denied benefits on basis of not being a qualified employee or awarded benefits at an improper rate, payment of benefits to employees of noncomplying employers, and final decisions of Board.
Amendment by Pub. L. 97–35 effective Oct. 1, 1981, and applicable only with respect to annuities awarded on or after that date, see section 1129 of Pub. L. 97–35, set out as a note under section 231 of this title.
Amendment by act July 31, 1946, effective July 31, 1946, see section 401 of act July 31, 1946.
For effective date of amendment by act Oct. 10, 1940, see section 1 of act Oct. 10, 1940, set out as a note under section 351 of this title.