Can I appeal an Unfavorable Decision on my Social Security Claim?

Yes you can.

You must file a request for review with the Appeals Council within sixty days of the date on the Unfavorable Decision.

The Office of Disability and Adjudication and Review's Appeals Council, located in Falls Church, Virginia, reviews all appeals of Unfavorable Decisions.

The Appeals Council will review the Administrative Law Judge’s Decision for legal errors and factual errors. The Appeals Council can do one of three things. It can deny your request review. If the request for review is denied, you can then file another appeal with the US District Court where you reside. Oregon has one District Court, Washington has two District Courts.  Where to file depends upon where you live.

The Appeals Council may also approve your disability claim. This does not happen very often, but it is a possible result.

Most often, if the Appeals Council finds a problem with the Unfavorable Decision, it will send the case back to the Administrative Law Judge that originally heard your case with instructions on how to properly evaluate the evidence. This is known as a “remand.” The Administrative Law Judge may still deny your claim at the remand hearing.  Social Security will not have the same Judge hear a case that has been remanded back to the hearings office more than one time.

If you have a case at the Appeals Council, or have a case that has been remanded back to the hearings level, call us with your questions at 503-325-8600. We can let you know where you stand with your appeal.


Joe Di Bartolomeo
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