Social Security Disability Appeals Council Process

SSDI Appeals Council Process

If you lose your hearing or you want to appeal a partially favorable decision you do so by requesting a review by the Appeals Council. There is one thing I want to note here, if you lose at hearing it is possible to apply again and appeal to the Appeals Council at the same time in some cases. However, the new application will only be for SSD or SSI benefits from the date of the denial by the administrative law judge. If you are denied at hearing and have decided to request review by the Appeals Council you should explain on the form, or in a separate letter with the form, why you feel the ALJ erred in his decision. The Appeals Council will consider the reasons you have claimed and will also review the hearing recording, your file and the ALJ decision to decide whether the ALJ made any mistakes and they're decision. It can be particularly helpful to have a Social Security disability lawyer because they can write a brief and they know the laws and issues that can help you get a favorable result at the Appeals Council. The Appeals Council will make a decision after it has reviewed all this information. They will then decide whether the ALJ decision should be upheld (no significant error by ALJ and you lose), remanded (the case is sent back for a new hearing with instructions to the ALJ) or reversed (they issue a fully favorable decision).

U.S. District Court Process

If you lose your appeal to the Appeals Council then your next option is to decide whether or not to file a claim in US District Court. Filing a claim in US District Court can be very difficult for someone with no experience in handling a federal court claim. You may strongly want to consider getting the help of an SSDI appeal lawyer if you do not already have an attorney working on your case. At US District Court the social security administration will be represented by a government lawyer. Most Social Security disability US District Court cases are decided by the judge after he has reviewed the briefs submitted by both sides. In rare cases, it can require a court appearance before the judge to argue the case. There are many possible outcomes at this stage of the process. Your lawyer and the government lawyer can agree to a remand before the US District Judge makes a decision. In this situation, the case is sent back to the administrative law judge for a new hearing. If no agreement is made between the two lawyers then the US District Judge will make a decision. The judge can remand the case for a new hearing with instructions to the ALJ on how he is to conduct that hearing. The judge can uphold the ALJ decision and therefore you lose. The District Court judge can also, although rare, reverse the ALJ's decision and find you disabled. If you lose at the US District Court you can appeal to a higher court but this is rarely done and beyond the scope of this page.