Applying for Social Security Disability benefits can be a long and stressful process. After being denied benefits, it can be tempting to give up. If you are truly disabled and feel that you rightfully deserve disability benefits, you should not give up at this stage in the appeals process.
If the Appeals Council denies your claim, you must file a request for review in United States District Court within 60 days of the date of your Appeals Council decision. You should also understand that time is of the essence when filing an appeal with the Federal District Court.
The appeals process at the Federal District Court level can be a very confusing and legally complicated one. Because of this, it is important to have an experienced disability lawyer representing you during the Federal District Court appeal. Your lawyer will be responsible for filing the complaint and writing the opening and reply briefs. In addition to these required documents, the Federal District Court may also require an oral argument. In this case, your attorney will need to argue your case in front of a judge.
It is important to understand that your case is no longer going to be decided by someone who is employed by the Social Security Administration. Your case will now be decided by a United States Federal Court Judge. These Judges decide many cases other than just Social Security cases. US District Court Judges preside on a wide range of Federal criminal and civil cases.
No documents, evidence or testimony will be considered in this stage of the Social Security Disability appeals process. Once the briefs have been filed and the oral argument is over, the judge will decide the outcome of your case. At this point, one of three things can happen. The judge can either:
- Decide to uphold the decision made by the Social Security Disability Appeals Council.
- Decide to remand your case for additional review by the Social Security Administration.
- Decide to grant you your Social Security Disability benefits.
Because Federal District Court judges experience very heavy workloads, the timeframe can be long.
- It can take approximately one year or more to receive a decision regarding your Federal District Court appeal.
If your appeal is denied at the Federal District Court level, you can appeal to the Federal Circuit Court and potentially even to the United States Supreme Court.