What is the Application Process for Social Security Disability and SSI?
How do you Win Benefits under Social Security Disability or SSI?
If I am determined disabled, how far back will Social Security pay benefits?
How do you prove your disability case if you have a mental condition?
What Can I Do to Improve My Chances of Winning Disability Benefits
Common Mistakes after Receiving a Denial of Social Security Disability or SSI Benefits
How to File for Disability - Tips for Filing
If You Get Approved For SSDI Will You Also Get Medicare?
How much does a Social Security disability attorney get paid?
Social Security Disability SSI Criteria and the Evaluation Process
How long does it take to be approved for SSI or Social Security disability?
What do you Need to Prove to Qualify for Disability Benefits?
Social Security Disability SSI and Fibromyalgia
Social Security Disability SSI and Degenerative Disc Disease
Can I Qualify For Disability and Receive Benefits based on Depression?
Answers to questions about SSD and SSI disability
What Disabilities Qualify for SSI and Social Security Disability Benefits?
Social Security Disability Status
Social Security Disability Tips — how a claim gets worked on
Social Security Disability, SSI Disability - Terms, Definitions, Concepts
Can You Appeal A Decision By A Judge On A Social Security Disability or SSI Case?
How to prove you are disabled
and win disability benefits
As with all decisions made by the Social Security Administration, an administrative law judge’s decision can be appealed. An administrative law judge decision, made at a social security hearing, can be appealed to the Appeals Council by filing an "Appeals Council review request".
Generally, you must request the review of the judge's decision within sixty days of the social security hearing decision. But Social Security assumes that you received your hearing denial notice within five days of the notice being mailed and this is why you actually have sixty-five days in which to get the hearing submitted (remember, though, that the appeal must be at the Appeals Council within that time frame). If you do not file your request for review in a timely fashion, an administrative law judge can dismiss the request unless you can provide a sound reason for the judge to give you "good cause" for your late filing.
Once your request makes its way to the Appeals Council, it will be evaluated to see if the council feels the administrative law judge or ALJ made a correct decision. If they feel that the decision is correct, your request for review may be denied. If the Appeals Council decides to review your disability case, it can make a medical decision itself. Or, it can remand your disability case back to the Administrative Law Judge for further review--translation: your case would have a second hearing with the same judge who denied you before.
The Appeal Council considers all aspects of your disability claim when making its decision. Very few disability claims receive a favorable decision from the Appeals Council itself. As was stated, those cases that are remanded are reviewed by the same Administrative Law Judge who denied your disability.
As you might imagine, appeals that are sent to the appeals council result in very few decisional changes. However, it is always worth appealing an Administrative Law Judge decision on the off chance that your disability claim will be approved either at the Appeals Council or by the Administrative Law Judge at a second hearing.
Social Security realizes that very few disability claims will be approved at the Appeals Council, so it allows disabled individuals the option to file a new initial disability claim while awaiting the Appeals Council review decision.
Is the appeals council the end of the line in the social security appeal system? No, even the Appeals Council decision can be appealed, but that appeal would have be made in Federal District Court. Most individuals do no choose to purse their disability claim into Federal District Court because of the cost of legal representation. Generally, it is easier and more cost effective to just file a new initial disability claim, i.e. a new disability application.
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Individual Questions and Answers
SSD and SSI are Federal Programs
The title II Social Security Disability and title 16 SSI Disability programs operate under federal guidelines and, therefore, the program requirements--medical and non-medical--apply to all states:
Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming
Recent approval and denial statistics for various states can be viewed here:
Social Security Disability, SSI Approval and Denial Statistics by state
Special Section: Disability Lawyers and unnecessary claim denials