Free Initial Consultation
Toll Free 877-Levine-1
NJ / NY / CT 973-783-0100
MD / DC / VA 301-799-5992

What is the SSA's Appeals Council in an SSDI case?

This blog has discussed many aspects of New Jersey residents' potential Social Security Disability Insurance claims. From the various requirements to be considered disabled for certain disorders according to the Social Security Administration's "Blue Book," to the wait times for getting a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge if the SSA denies a claim, we've covered quite a bit of the process. About a year ago, the blog did a thumbnail sketch of the entire appeals process, and this week, we'll take a slightly closer look at one of the components of that process: The Appeals Council.

We've discussed the fact that New Jersey residents who feel an ALJ treated them unfairly can file a complaint with the SSA. However, an applicant can appeal an ALJ's decision whether or not the ALJ was unfair, or just made another kind of mistake and got the decision wrong. To do this, the applicant must request an appeal in writing with the Appeals Council, or call the SSA office to get a form to fill out. This must be done within 60 days of the receipt of the ALJ's decision. Unless there is proof otherwise, the SSA will assume that an applicant received notice of the ALJ decision five days after it was mailed. Failure to meet this deadline may result in loss of the ability to appeal.

So what happens then? First the Appeals Council will decide whether to review the case. If it does not, the ALJ's decision will stand. If the Council decides to review the case, it will consider everything the ALJ considered, including issues that the ALJ decided in the applicant's favor, so a Council decision has the potential to be worse for the applicant than the original decision. After review, the Council will either decide the case, or will return it to the ALJ to review again taking its guidance into account.

The Appeals Council process is not a short one. In fiscal year 2014, it took an average of 374 days to process such claims. This is no small period for those with an inability to work. Further, people who are appealing an SSDI decision may present new evidence and can be represented by a qualified representative. Those in this position may wish to consider contacting a New Jersey disability attorney.

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information

You won't know if you have a legitimate claim unless you talk to an experienced attorney. Get in touch with me today.

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.


Privacy Policy

Schedule a Consultation