Stage 4: Review by Appeals Council

If you’ve been denied Social Security Disability Insurance (SSD) or Supplemental Security Insurance (SSI) and exhausted the first two options for repeal of a denial — the Request for Reconsideration and the Appeals Hearing — you can request a thorough review by the Appeals Council.

Requesting an Appeals Council Review

When you file a request for review by the Appeals Council, you should be prepared to provide reasons why your claim may have been denied erroneously. The Council is selective in which cases are accepted for review, so it is important to have a plan of action ready before requesting the review.

During the Appeals Council review, members of the Council will revisit the actions of the Administrative Law Judge during the Appeal Hearing and go over your initial SSD application. The events of the hearing are reviewed with precision to check for technical errors, disregard of evidence, and other variables that could have jeopardized the benefits approval.

If an error or bad judgment was made, the Appeals Council can at this time reverse the judge’s denial and approve the applicant for benefits or order a second hearing. If the Council does not find significant errors in the actions of the judge, they may reissue a denial.

Formulating a Legal Strategy

It is important to note that the majority of Appeals Council Reviews end with the Council supporting the judgment of the Administrative Law Judge. If you haven’t hired a skilled SSD lawyer by this time, it’s a good idea to do so now.

Your legal professional will explain the steps for appeal with you and handle the paperwork involved with requesting an Appeals Council review. After a careful evaluation of your disability and your filing history, your lawyer can put his or her years of experience to work for your case, ensuring you are in the best position possible to get the attention of the Appeals Council.

If your request is denied at the Appeals Council level, your final opportunity for benefits is to file a case in Federal District Court. You can contact an SSD appeals lawyer in your city to learn more about steps and strategies involved in appealing a denial of benefits.