Once an administrative law judge issues a decision denying your claim, you have 60 days from the date you receive the denial to file a request for review with the Appeals Council. The Appeals Council is in Falls Church, Virginia and reviews disability denials from around the country.
Unfortunately, the Appeals Council does not usually address the ultimate issue of whether you are disabled. It is difficult to “win” at the Appeals Council. Attorney Chewning is familiar with the arguments the Appeals Council may find convincing. The Appeals Council is interested in violations of Social Security’s regulations and policy. Often, the issues relate to procedural matters or the administrative law judge’s consideration of opinion evidence or technical aspects of your physical and mental limitations. There may also be new and material evidence that the Appeals Council will consider.
Nationally, the Appeals Council awards new hearings in only 9% of its cases. They approve benefits in only 1%. The odds may seem long, but if you want to keep your claim alive, you must attempt to convince the Appeals Council to vacate the administrative law judge’s decision. Don’t be disheartened by the numbers. Every case is different, and your outcome will depend on the individual facts of your case and the judge’s decision.
Federal District Court
If the Appeals Council denies your request for review, your only option for further appeal of the claim is an action in federal district court. As an attorney admitted to federal court, Attorney Chewning can file the federal claim on your behalf
Once again, you must meet a 60-day filing deadline. After Attorney Chewning files the action appealing your claim, Social Security will compile your entire file, including a transcript of what was said at your hearing. Attorney Chewning then files a detailed brief. He puts forth a summary of the medical and other evidence and makes legal arguments based on errors in the administrative law judge’s decision. The arguments are based on the facts, federal statutes, agency regulations, and federal case law.
Sometimes, the government will review the arguments and agree that your case should be sent back for a new hearing. If not, the federal district court judge will issue a written decision after the parties have briefed the case. Like at the Appeals Council, the decision will not be one about whether you are disabled. It will be focused on legal errors that might entitle you to a new hearing. In a very small percentage of cases, however, the federal court will order that you be awarded disability benefits.
Attorney Chewning is only allowed to collect a fee if he is successful on appeal. There is no fee paid up front. Any fees will be paid from your back benefits or by the government.
If your disability claim has been denied by a Social Security Administrative Law Judge or the Appeals Council, we can help. Contact Chewning Legal, LLC, today by calling 888-836-3456 or filling out an online form. There is a deadline for appealing your claim, so you must act quickly.