Appeals Council and Federal Court Review
If you received an unfavorable ruling at your administrative hearing, the next steps to take in the appeals process are: 1) review by the Appeals Council; and 2) if the Appeals Council denies your benefits, a civil lawsuit in federal court.
The Appeals Council stands as the Social Security system’s final appellate level, but it is not legally obligated to grant a claimant’s request for review of an administrative law judge’s (ALJ) decision. If the Appeals Council does decide to reconsider an ALJ’s ruling, it will examine the record from your administrative hearing to decide whether the ALJ’s ruling should be affirmed, modified, reversed, or remanded for a new hearing.
If a claimant’s request for review has been granted, he or she will be allowed to submit new evidence as long as it was developed before the issuance of the ALJ’s decision. The claimant and his or her Long Beach Social Security disability lawyer are unlikely to have a chance to be heard by the Appeals Council, since it rarely holds a hearing when considering an appeal. The Appeals Council will make their decision based only on the administrative record and any new evidence submitted by the claimant.
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The Appeals Council’s ruling on whether to amend an ALJ’s ruling is the final decision of the Commissioner of Social Security. If this decision is unfavorable, then the only option left for the claimant is to file a civil action in U.S. District Court, naming the Commissioner of Social Security as a defendant. If the District Court judge upholds the Appeals Council’s decision, the claimant must file an appeal with the United States Court of Appeals. The final step for appeals is a petition for certiorari with the United States Supreme Court.
Filing a civil action in federal court can be a prohibitively expensive. You should consult your Long Beach Social Security disability lawyer before committing your time and resources on a lawsuit. The lawyer will be able to evaluate your case and advise you on your realistic chances to win your appeal at Federal Court.
If you need assistance filing an appeal of the Social Security Administration’s denial of you benefits, please contact Long Beach Social Security disability advocate.
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