The statistics bear out that someone trying to get Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits are most likely to be successful at a hearing before an administrative law judge (ALJ). Check out my recent post regarding the hearing office wait times and approval percentages. However, as noted over 50% of Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or SSI claimants lose at a hearing. The claimant must choose whether to appeal to the Appeals Council.
If a Social Security Disability or SSI claimant loses at a hearing before an administrative law judge (ALJ), the next step of the process often is an appeal before the Appeals Council (AC). At the AC, the SSA looks to determine if the ALJ's decision is not supported by substantial evidence or errors of law were committed requiring reversal or remand. The SSA recently released statistics about the AC for 2013.
If a claimant's Social Security Disability or SSI claim is denied by an Administrative Law Judge, then the claimant has sixty days to appeal to the Appeals Council. The request for review must be in writing in the form of a letter or on a Form HA-520-U5. Though the Appeals Council is generally a review on the record, it is always a recommended to support the appeal with a brief. The claimant may submit new evidence that relates to the period of disability prior to the ALJ's decision.
Social Security Disability and SSI claimants need to know that the Social Security Administration has not changed its mind regarding subsequent applications while an appeal of a prior claim is pending at the Appeals Council. On July 29, 2011, I discussed the recently published SSR 11-1p revising the SSA's policy for handling subsequent applications when a prior claim is pending with the Appeals Council. The SSA has now given some more guidance on the issue, but, unfortunately, is not backing down on this draconian measure.
Social Security Disability claimants beware! As noted in a recent e-mail flash from NOSSCR (a great organization!!), the Social Security Administration recently published SSR 11-1p revising the SSA's policy for handling subsequent applications when a prior claim is pending with the Appeals Council. Effective July 28, 2011, the Social Security Administration will no longer process a subsequent disability claim if a claim under the same title and of the same type is pending before the Appeals Council (though a subsequent claim can still be processed where an appeal is pending in Federal court). Certain key points to be considered: