How the Appeals Council Affects Your Disability Denial Case

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If your request for disability has been denied post-hearing with an administrative law judge (ALJ), it is still not the time to give up. Your case has an opportunity to go through the appeal process with the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) Appeals Council. Contact the meticulous team at The Khaki Law Firm, LLC for further help with completing this process.

Requesting an Appeals Council Review

Within 60 days of the hearing decision, you can request an Appeals Council Review through the iAppeal Online application or a mail-in request to their Virginia location. Once received, they will review your disability claim and either agree or disagree with the ALJ’s original decision. This results in either another denial, a remand case, or a new decision. It is important to note that this process can take anywhere from three months to two years. Having the guidance of a seasoned disability attorney can make a difference in you staying aware of where you stand and fully comprehending what decisions are made.

Denial of Request

Most of the time, the Appeals Council will uphold the judge’s original decision leaving the applicant denied again. In this case, they could file a civil suit with the federal district court for judicial review. This will typically involve a fee and must be filed within 60 days of the denial.

Remand Case

A remand case is a second hearing that almost duplicates the original appeal. The same guidelines will be followed, and proceedings will take place with the same ALJ. These circumstances occur when the Council discovers medical documentation left out of the original hearing or if the ALJ made a technical error. The following are common mistakes that could lead to your case being remanded:

  • Leaving out crucial information in your testimony’s summary;
  • Not factoring in the medical opinion of your treating doctor enough;
  • Failing to consider all of your medical conditions or falsely labeling your condition as non-severe;
  • Not having a vocational expert present during the appeal hearing.

Some of these scenarios can be complex and difficult to understand. Retaining knowledgeable legal counsel to answer your questions throughout the process is advisable.

New Decision

Changes to the administrative law judge’s decision are rare but sometimes occur. This is possible if the Council finds the ALJ made a complete error. In this scenario, applicants will typically be approved for disability benefits. Note that this occurs at a 2-3% chance and is highly unlikely.

Contact an Attorney for Help with the Appeals Process after a Disability Claim Denial

Typically, applicants who apply for an appeal review by themselves are denied. Although representation is not necessary, proactive disability lawyers can assist in showing the Appeals Council how the ALJ made a mistake. At The Khaki Law Firm LLC, our team of disability lawyers knows that filing for an appeal can be a maze. Let us make it easier for you; contact our office today.

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