Social Security Disability Appeals
When your Social Security hearing doesn’t go the way you want it to, you can appeal to the Appeals Council to get your claim approved. But when the Appeals Council denies review of your claim, you cannot take your case to another decider within Social Security. The bad news is that a denial from the Appeals Council is a final decision of the Social Security Administration. But that may not be the end of your case.
The good news is that after that final decision you can take your case to federal court where a federal judge - instead of an employee of the Social Security Administration - will review your case. Federal Court appeals are a powerful tool in getting claims approved and in 2021 Disability Alabama got a clean sweep in Federal Court cases against the Social Security Administration.
The federal remand rate is somewhere around 30%.
If you win your Federal Court case, you will get a “remand.” Remand means that the Court has found something wrong with your case and they send it back to Social Security to be fixed. Although the “rate of remand” changes a bit each year it tends to be somewhere around 30%. Indeed, over a 12 month period from September 2020 to September 2021.
Despite the low rate of remand and winning appeals, Disability Alabama swept its cases before the federal court in 2021. All of the decisions received were in favor of disability claimants. While this can’t always be the case, Disability Alabama was proud its clients were heard and successful in Federal Court.
How to win a Social Security Disability federal court appeal.
Cases are won in different ways.
Every disability case is different and every Federal Court appeal is different. Not surprisingly, therefore, the federal cases were won in different ways: from the district court judge, on appeal from the district court, and on surrender by Social Security.
- District Judge. Most of the time, if you are successful in Federal Court it will be by convincing the District Court judge that a legal mistake was made in your case. To get there the federal judge reviews the written arguments of your attorney and the attorney from the Social Security Administration. When the District Judge rules in your favor, you get an order remanding your case to Social Security.
- Social Security Surrenders. Although it is unusual, it is possible for the Social Security Administration to agree that it made a mistake, even before the District Judge reviews and rules on your claim. That was the situation in one unusual Federal Court appeal Disability Alabama won in 2021. In this case, after Disability Alabama submitted its written argument Social Security conceded that it had made a mistake. The case never went before the judge except for an order to send the case back down to Social Security for a new hearing.
- Higher appeals. If you lose your case before the federal District Judge, in some cases you still have an appeal left. When you lose a case in District Court, you have the right to appeal to the Federal Court of Appeals. In Alabama, that means appealing to the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals. In the case of one Disability Alabama claimant, the issue in his case went beyond the Eleventh Circuit and all the way up to the United States Supreme Court who ruled in favor of claimants and against Social Security. Because the Supreme Court ruled in favor of claimants like him, he won his case before the Eleventh Circuit, eventually getting a remand order sending his case back to Social Security for a new hearing.
What’s next? Social Security Disability federal court remand
When you win your federal case, it does not mean that you automatically get your benefits. Instead, it means that you will get another shot at your claim. Unless the Appeals Council approves your claim (which is not usual) you will get another hearing - but this time you’ll know what the administrative law judge is thinking and can address their concerns from the last time.
Most importantly, if you are approved back to the day you said your disability started, you should get a large number of back benefits. Back benefits are those monthly payments that you would have received had they approved your claim earlier. When Social Security doesn’t pay you a benefit that they owe you, you don’t lose it. Instead, that amount accrues and is available as back benefits after you win your case. It is from these back benefits that your lawyer is paid.
Need help with your federal court Social Security Disability appeal?
A federal appeal can take many months, but it is often your last chance to win your claim - especially if you think you should receive back benefits. Disability Alabama has experience filing, arguing, and winning federal appeals. Contact Disability Alabama about your Federal Court appeal.