We’ve discussed what happens when you receive an unfavorable or partially favorable decision from an ALJ and the option to appeal to the Appeals Council (AC). If, after a lengthy review, the AC still denies your claim, you have the option to appeal to Federal Court.
You have 60 days to appeal
Like with any other disability or SSI appeal, you must file it within 60 days of the AC denial. This is accomplished by filing what is referred to as a complaint. This gives a brief summary of why you are appealing. It is then served to the government agency which you are suing, the Social Security Administration.
It is important to note that there is also a fee for filing a complaint with Federal Court. If you cannot afford the fee, you may request in writing to have it waived.
After your complaint is filed, an attorney who works for SSA will submit a response. This summarizes why SSA thinks your decision should be upheld. The Federal Court judge is then supplied with your complaint, SSA’s response, a transcript of your hearing and your exhibit file.
You will also be expected to submit a brief on your case, referred to as the Opening Brief. SSA will then file a Response Brief to argue against you. You may also file a Reply Brief to address issues brought up in SSA’s Response Brief.
If necessary, the Federal Court judge will request an Oral Argument. Here, no additional evidence is submitted and no testimony is given by the claimant. Instead, the claimant or his representative (if he or she has one) will argue the case in front of the judge.
How long does it take a Federal judge to make a decision on my appeal?
Once all of the pertinent information is received and the oral argument is over, a Federal Court judge will then take approximately a year (sometimes longer) to decide your case. The reason why the wait is so lengthy is because not only do Federal Court judges look at disability complaints, but other types of cases as well.
How will a Federal judge make a decision?
The judge will decide the case one of three ways.
- Either he or she will remand the case back to SSA for further development and possibly another hearing,
- agree with SSA and deny your case, or
- agree with you and award your case.
Appealing to Federal Court is a complicated and lengthy process. It is yet another reason why having legal representation is a good idea. Disability attorneys who deal with Federal Court are well-versed in filing complaints and writing briefs. Your attorney will also make sure an important deadline is not missed.
Do all disability law firms go to Federal Court?
No, not every disability attorney or law firm deals with Federal Court. This is another reason why Balin Law is a leader in winning disability claims. We are one of the very few disability firms in northeast Ohio who will take your claim all the way to Federal Court if need be.
We offer convenient office locations in order to serve you better! Call us today to schedule a free consultation at either our Cleveland, Cuyahoga Falls, Canton, Beachwood, Youngstown, Toledo, Lorain, Mentor or Ashtabula location today!