Social Security Appeals Council
Social Security Appeals Council
Most people are told that a Social Security Disability application will take 90 to 120 days to process. Sadly, that’s not always true. If you’re lucky enough to be approved during the first stage of the application process, then your application process will fall within that time period. However, 70 percent of all Social Security applicants are denied during the first try. When this happens, your approval time will be much longer. This is especially true if your appeal is denied as well.
If you have already gone through the lengthy, tedious process of appealing the denial of your Social Security Disability claim and were subsequently denied at the ALJ board hearing stage of appeal, you still have another chance to have the decision overturned by going before the appeals council.
The Council Review Process
Once you receive a notice of denial from your disability hearing, you’ll have 60 days to request a review by the Social Security Appeals Council. This council doesn’t actually review your disability claim. Instead, they examine whether the decision made by the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) was rendered according to law.
Winning an appeal at this stage of the disability claims process can be difficult. Most often, the Appeals Council sends you a letter letting you know that your appeal was denied and they uphold the ALJ’s decision. However, in certain situations, the Appeals Council sends the case back to the SSA for another hearing. In very rare instances, they may even overturn the ALJ’s decision and approve your claim.
If the Appeals Council decides that the ALJ failed to consider important medical evidence or made a technical error regarding your Social Security Disability hearing, they can request a remand case. What this means is that they send your disability claim back for another hearing in front of a different judge. The second hearing will follow the same process as your first, but will simply be conducted by a new judge.
If the Appeals Council determines that the ALJ’s decision was in error, they may decide to overturn their decision. If this happens, they can skip the remand hearing and just approve your Social Security Disability application. That’s why it’s imperative to prepare as much as you can before proceeding with the Appeals Council.
Before the request for additional evidence has been mailed, you should really be working with an attorney. They can file your appeal for you and help give you a better chance at approval. If you don’t have a lawyer, you will be able to file the appeal yourself, but the process is much less confusing with the services of a qualified lawyer.
How Long Does the Appeals Council Take?
The average Appeals Council wait times can be between six months and two years. Depending on your appeal’s specifics and how backed up your local Social Security office is, it may be shorter or longer.
The most important thing to understand at this stage is that only two percent of Council decisions are approvals. If you’re denied for an appeal at this level, you’ll need to file an additional appeal with the Federal District Court. Hiring an attorney is an important part of your journey. When you’re ready to file, call Jorgensen Law at 1-888-855-2948 or contact us online to schedule a free initial consultation.