Overview of Disability
Disability Back Pay
Requirements for Disability
Applications for disability
Tips and Advice for Disability Claims
How long does Disability take?
Winning Disability Benefits
Common Mistakes after a Denial
Mental Disability Benefits
Denials for Disability
Appeals for denied claims
Disability Benefits from SSA
Child Disability Benefits
Qualifications and How to Qualify
Working and Disability
Disability Awards and Notices
Disability Lawyers, Hiring Attorneys
Social Security List of Conditions
What Social Security considers disabling
Medical Evidence and Disability
Filing for Disability Benefits
Eligibility for Disability Benefits
SSD SSI Definitions
SSDRC authored by Tim Moore
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Can You Appeal A Decision By A Judge On A Social Security Disability or SSI Case?
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.
Return to: Social Security Disability Resource Center, or read answers to Questions
Information on the following topics can be found here: Social Security Disability Questions and in these subsections:
Frequently asked questions about getting Denied for Disability Benefits | FAQ on Disability Claim Representation | Info about Social Security Disability Approvals and Being Approved | FAQ on Social Security Disability SSI decisions | The SSD SSI Decision Process and what gets taken into consideration | Disability hearings before Judges | Medical exams for disability claims | Applying for Disability in various states | Selecting and hiring Disability Lawyers | Applying for Disability in North Carolina | Recent articles and answers to questions about SSD and SSI
These pages answer some of the most basic questions for individuals who are considering filing a claim.
Filing for disability - How to file for SSD or SSI and the Information that is needed by Social Security
How to Apply for Disability - What medical conditions can you apply and qualify for?
Applying for Disability - How long does it take to get Social Security Disability or SSI benefits?
What happens if I file a disability application and it is denied by a disability examiner or Judge?
How to Prove you are disabled and qualify to win disability benefits
How do you prove your disability case if you have a mental condition or impairment?
Social Security Disability Back pay and How Long it Takes to Qualify for it and receive it
Social Security Disability SSI - Eligibility Requirements and Qualifications Criteria