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What Is the Appeals Council Review?

The road to receiving Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits is long and bumpy for many people. While some applicants are immediately approved, others are denied and left to wonder whether they can receive benefits. The good news is that anyone initially denied can request a hearing before an administrative law judge.

But what happens if you lose your hearing? Your journey has still not reached the end of the road. You might file an appeal to the Appeals Council. Call anArkansas SSDI lawyer at Gallo, Cazort, and Co. to discuss if this is an option for your case.

Should You Appeal?

The Appeals Council sits in Falls Church, Virginia, but they review ALJ decisions from around the country. Their goal is to make sure ALJs apply the law correctly.

Whether you should appeal will depend on the ALJ’s decisions. When the judge makes a clear error, then it makes sense to take your case to the Appeals Council.

Reasons to Appeal

With an appeal, you need to give some reason why the ALJ’s decision is wrong. Some common reasons include:

  • The ALJ interpreted the law wrong
  • The ALJ applied the law incorrectly
  • Substantial evidence doesn’t support the ALJ’s decision
  • Your ALJ refused to consider relevant evidence
  • New evidence has arisen which could change the outcome of your case

These are some of the most common reasons. In short, you do more than point out, “I’m unhappy with the result.” Instead, you typically show how the ALJ overlooked or misapplied the law, or else the ALJ didn’t properly consider the evidence.

Success Rate before the Appeals Council

What does it mean to “win” your appeal? One option is reversal. The Appeals Council can reverse the ALJ and award you SSDI benefits. Unfortunately, reversal is rare—maybe only 2% of cases end this way.

The Appeals Council can also send your case back to the ALJ for another hearing. This is called a “remand.” For example, the ALJ might have not considered a Vocational Expert’s testimony when deciding if you were disabled. The Appeals council will send it back to the ALJ to give him or her a chance to consider this evidence. Around 14% of cases end up getting sent back for a new hearing. That means you get another chance to convince the ALJ that you deserve benefits.

Unfortunately, more than 80% of applicants lose before the Appeals Council. Consult an experienced Arkansas SSDI lawyer to review the record in your case.

How to Appeal

You should work with a lawyer. We will draft a written brief and send it to the Appeals Council. This is a technical legal document which refers to the facts in your case and the relevant law.

There areimportant deadlines. Generally, you get only 60 days to file an appeal with the Council. You will need to make a quick decision about whether to appeal.

Schedule a Free Consultation

Gallo, Cazort, and Co. can help disabled workers wherever they are in their journey. Contact us to schedule a private meeting with a lawyer.