Filing a Social Security Disability (SSD) claim can cause an applicant to feel heightened anxiety until the Social Security Administration (SSA) sends notice of its decision. Unfortunately, many claims are denied initially and are then appealed to the next level of review. More than 95% of SSD claims are resolved before they reach the Federal Court Appeal stage, but some cases do rise to that level of review.
London Eligibility specializes in providing professional advocacy services for all Social Security Disability claims. If you have an SSD claim for benefits, London Eligibility will assist you from the first step through to the final decision, even if that means appealing all the way to federal court. Attorney Scott London has extensive experience representing clients whose SSD claims need review by a federal court judge to receive proper adjudication.
Winning an SSD Appeal in Federal Court
Appealing an SSD claim denial all the way up to federal court is relatively unusual. By the time an SSD application has been reviewed, reconsidered, supplemented with additional evidence, argued at a full hearing before an Administrative Law Judge, and reviewed for errors by the SSD Appeals Council, most benefit claims have been thoroughly litigated. By that time, an SSD applicant seeking benefits usually learns the facts of their case either do not qualify or they are somehow otherwise ineligible. Every argument has been made and considered.
But some cases remain unresolved and are compelling enough to justify the unusual step of appealing the denial of benefits to the federal courts. At this stage, the complexity and technical nature of the legal proceedings require the expertise of a Social Security Disability Lawyer. A non-attorney advocate cannot represent you in federal court. Although you may act alone, it is never a good idea for an SSD claimant to attempt to represent themselves in federal court.
Your federal court SSD attorney’s formal pleading documents will trigger responses to be filed by the SSA. The SSA will submit your entire SSD file, including the ALJ’s full written decision. Your lawyer will argue the specific legal, factual, and analytical failures committed by the ALJ that the Appeals Council failed to correct. The federal court judge will not conduct a whole new trial of your case, only a review of the previous record.
A skilled SSD lawyer will identify what evidence the ALJ misunderstood, or what required legal issues they failed to address, and will emphasize why your right to benefits were improperly denied.
Intense preparation and absolute familiarity with the facts of your case are what wins in federal court. While few cases warrant the expense and time required to appeal an SSD benefits denial to federal court, a high percentage of SSD federal court appeals are resolved in the claimant’s favor.
Accepting the guidance of an experienced federal court SSD lawyer is imperative when assessing whether your case is right for the extraordinary filing of a federal court appeal. The key to winning a federal court appeal of your SSD claim denial is presenting the best possible case during the ALJ hearing. The right SSD lawyer or professional SSD advocates like those at London Eligibility is essential.
Getting an SSD Claim to Federal Court – The Social Security Disability Appeals Process
Social Security Disability (SSD) claimants have a right to appeal every decision denying them benefits. To explain how an experience SSD lawyer wins a federal court SSD appeal, we’ll review all the appeal levels that come before that stage in the process.
Initial Claim Denial: When you file your SSD claim, your application is reviewed and denied at this initial stage, requiring a claimant to request the claim be submitted for “reconsideration.” Because the reconsideration is conducted on basically the same information available to the initial claim evaluator, few initial denials are reversed by this reconsideration review. If denied again after reconsideration, filing an appeal leads to an ALJ hearing.
ALJ Hearing Denial: The claim review conducted by an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) is much more in-depth and includes your personal participation with your own SSD lawyer or advocate. These hearing often find grounds to award benefits that were denied earlier. The ALJ must review specific facts and make detailed findings on the record, and issue a reasonable judgment based on the evidence.
The ALJ Hearing is extremely important to any eventual federal court appeal. The federal court judge is limited in what they can consider in your SSD appeal.
If the claim is denied by the Administrative Law Judge after hearing, then an appeal is filed bringing the case before the Social Security Disability Appeals Council, the highest level of appeal within the SSA for claims denied SSD benefits.
The Social Security Disability Appeals Council Denial: The SSD Appeals Council will review the ALJ’s hearing decision and look for legal errors, overlooked evidence, or additional evidence. Then the Appeals Council can uphold or overrule the ALJ’s decision, or it can remand the case back to the ALJ to be reconsidered regarding grounds cited by the Appeals Council.
If denied relief by the SSD Appeals Council, it’s time to consider appealing to federal court. However, only through serious consultation with an experienced SSD lawyer will you know if your case is right for that step.