If your denied Social Security (SS) disability claim was denied after a hearing by an administrative law judge, you can ask for a review by the SS Appeals Council. You have 60 days to ask for this review.

If your claim reaches this level, it’s important to have legal representation by a skilled SS disability attorney. Although you can file the appeal with the Appeals Council on your own, the process will be easier and less complicated with legal counsel. 

Your Claim at the Appeals Council Level

Social Security claim in appealThe SS Appeals Council processes many requests for reviews each year—over 160,000 requests in 2017 alone. The Appeals Council reviews whether the administrative law judge made his decision according to the law. This Council is allowed to grant, deny, or dismiss a request for review. If your request is granted, the Council will either make a decision in the case or “remand” it to the administrative law judge for a new decision.

It’s important to note that it’s difficult to win your appeal at this level of the process. Most often, the Appeals Council sends claimants a letter denying the appeal and upholding the decision made by the administrative law judge.

It’s possible, however, that the Council will find the judge made mistakes in your case. For example, the judge may have:

  • Failed to look at all legitimate medical evidence
  • Made a technical error during the review process

If any of these takes place, the Appeals Council can demand a “remand case,” and your claim is sent back for a second hearing usually with the same administrative law judge. It’s also possible but not likely the judge’s determination will be overturned by the Council because the decision was totally erroneous. If so, the Council may simply move forward with an approval.

Call Cuddigan Law

If you need help appealing a denied disability claim, or your claim was denied by the Appeals Council, the disability attorneys at Cuddigan Law can help. We’ve assisted thousands of clients, filling out their paperwork, collecting their medical records, calling doctors, and managing their cases through the four levels of the appeals process.

Contact us for a free evaluation by calling us at 402-933-5405 or by emailing us at [email protected] . We’ll review your case and let you know how we can increase your chances of receiving approval on your appeal.


Sean D. Cuddigan
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SSA and VA Disability Attorney in Omaha, Nebraska