What is the Social Security Appeals Council?
The Social Security Appeals Council is the final administrative level for Social Security disability claims. It is a judicial body that reviews decisions made by administrative law judges (ALJs). The Appeals Council can affirm, reverse, or remand ALJ decisions, and represents the final step available to Claimants before an appeal to their circuit court.
How to Appeal to the Social Security Appeals Council
To appeal a claim to the Appeals Council, you must file a written request for review within 60 days of the ALJ’s decision. You can file your request online (preferred by SSA), by mail, or in person at any Social Security office.
Your request for review must include the following information:
- Your name, Social Security number, and date of birth (see form HA-520)
- The reasons why you disagree with the ALJ’s decision
- Any evidence that relates back to the time period reviewed by the ALJ that may not have been previously considered.
What Happens After You File an Appeal with the Social Security Appeals Council?
The Appeals Council will review your request for review and evaluate the merits of your arguments. To approve (or remand) your claim for disability / SSI benefits, the Appeals Council will have to establish that the ALJ arrived at their decision in a legally insufficient manner. The ALJ’s decision must be supported by evidence that was available at the hearing, and must be made following a very specific and complex set of rules.
In general, the Appeals Council will take one of the following actions: they will remand a case back to the ALJ for further proceedings, they will affirm the ALJ decision, or less often they will make a decision on their own. As of this writing, the Appeals Council is taking roughly 6-8 months to make their decision.
How Can I Get Help with My Social Security Appeal?
You can get help with your Social Security appeal by contacting an experienced Social Security attorney like Thomas C. O’Brien of O’Brien & Feiler (OBF). OBF can help you file your appeal, gather evidence, and present your case to the Appeals Council.
The Social Security Appeals Council is the final administrative level for Social Security disability claims. If you have been denied benefits by an ALJ, you may be able to appeal the decision to the Appeals Council. However, you must file your appeal or request an extension within 60 days of the ALJ’s decision.