What is the Appeals Council process?
The Appeals Council is headquartered in Falls Church, Virginia with additional offices in Baltimore, Maryland and Crystal City, Virginia. Typically a case finds itself at the Appeals Council after it has been denied at the initial level, reconsideration level, and denied by the Administrative Law Judge. Because of new changes to the Social Security Regulations, you should first speak with an experienced attorney before filing a request for review before the Appeals Council.
The request for review before the Appeals Council must be filed within 60 days of the denial by the Administrative Law Judge. If you fail to file the request timely, if you have a good reason for a late filing, the request may still be accepted. However, it is best to file the request for review before the Appeals Council within the allotted 60 days. Using an experienced Social Security attorney will allow him or her to file the necessary paperwork and requests to the Appeals Council within the allotted time, alleviating the pressure on you.
The Appeals Council may decide to not review your case. If it does decide to review your case, it may either reverse the decision issued by the Administrative Law Judge, which means it will reject the unfavorable decision and issue you a fully favorable or partially favorable decision; or it may remand your case back to the Administrative Law Judge with specific instructions for the Judge to consider. If your case is remanded, your case will be returned to your ODAR for your case to be reset for another hearing before the same Administrative Law Judge that had your previous hearing. The judge must then take the instructions outlined by the Appeals Council and give you another hearing, adhering to the instructions. You and your lawyer will receive a copy of the Appeals Council's final action in your case, even a refusal to review your case.