HALLEX is the abbreviation for Hearings, Appeals, Litigation, and Law (LEX) Manual, which is published by the Social Security Administration’s Office of Disability and Review (ODAR). It contains instructions for administrative law judges (ALJs), the Appeals Council, and the Office of Civil Actions. Such instructions are largely procedural in nature and include matters such as:

  • How Social Security decisions should be made at each stage;
  • What decisions should be made under various circumstances;
  • Steps that SSA should follow before making decisions; and
  • Language that SSA should use in explaining decisions, with examples.

Some substantive material is also found in the HALLEX, such as:

  • Discussion of legal concepts such as res judicata and administrative collateral estoppel;
  • When and how to use a medical adviser or a vocational expert; and
  • How to determine "good cause" (Good Cause is a legally sufficient, not arbitrary, reason) under various circumstances.

Additionally, the HALLEX contains information regarding the types of computer systems in which data are stored and from which data may be retrieved, as well as reference to hard-copy file sources at each level of adjudication.

How Is HALLEX Organized?

A printed copy of the HALLEX is very large. It comprises two volumes.

Volume One contains five principal divisions: 1) General subjects; 2) ALJ hearings; 3) Appeals Council review; 4) Civil actions; and 5) Temporary instructions.

Volume Two contains two principal divisions: 1) Preambles to Selected Regulations; and 2) Appeals Council Interpretations.

Each division and section of the HALLEX is numbered starting with a roman numeral that identifies the volume in which the division and section are found. Following the Roman numeral is a single digit that is followed by three digits. Thus, for example, a typical entry would be as follows: 1-2-000 (e.g., volume I, division 2, section 000).

Finding the HALLEX

Every OHA office must maintain a complete set of HALLEX for public inspection. Additionally, HALLEX may be obtained through a Freedom of Information (FOIA) request.  HALLEX selections are also available online  at http://www.ssa.gov/OP_Home/hallex/hallex.html

HALLEX may also be purchased through:

National Technical Information Service
5301 Shawnee Rd,
Alexandria, VA 22312
Phone: 1-800-553-NTIS
Fax: (703) 605-6900

It is published electronically and in printed form. A subscription to updates is also available.  See also www.severe.net.

Author's Comments

These materials contain a broad outline of the contents of HALLEX to give the reader a general idea of what can be found in it and where certain topics are located. It does not purport to identify all topics that HALLEX covers, or to outline any topic completely. Some topics are dealt with in greater detail than others. The selection of which topics have received the most coverage is, in the end, a totally arbitrary decision made by the writer, based on some obscure sense of what might be most interesting, useful or problematic to the practitioner. For complete information, reference should always be made directly to the HALLEX. The writer’s editorial comments on the content of HALLEX appear in the footnotes.


This section was prepared by and posted with the permission of: Barbara Samuels, Esq., Legal Services for New York City, 350 Broadway New York, NY 10013. 646-442-3600 extension 129, fax 212-966-9571 bsamuels@legalsupport.org Edited by Richard Neuworth, Esq., Maryland State Bar Association, Section on Elder Law and Disability Rights

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