The agony of Social Security Appeals Council decisions

I was talking to a woman who was upset with her attorney. Her Social Security case had been denied at the hearing level. The Administrative Law Judge did not think she was disabled. With her attorney’s help, she appealed to the Social Security Appeals Council.

After months and months, she finally got her decision …. a denial.

Well, at least there was a nice long decision explaining exactly why the Appeals Council denied the case. Right? WRONG!

Even her lawyer could not tell her why she had been denied. Why? Because there is thing you need to know about Appeals Council decisions:

When the Appeals Council denies an appeal, all you get is a form letter that says in part:

We found no reason under our rules to review the Administrative Law Judge’s decision. Therefore, we have denied your request for review.

No matter how many arguments your attorney put forward in the appeal, or how good they were, you do not get an explanation of why your appeal was denied. All you get is a form letter. It is a bit like getting a rejection letter from a publisher: you don’t know what they didn’t like about your story; you just know that it was rejected.

It is just as frustrating for the lawyer to not know why the appeal was rejected. What it comes down to, is that even your lawyer cannot tell you why the appeal was denied since Social Security does not tell us.

  • Blubear48

    In this art. you use the words Attorney, Judge and law and then you say that a claim for disability is the same as requesting a privite company to publish your recipe for tuna and bologna meatballs. Social Security Death, disabilty and auxilary benifits is not welfare. Unless you count the billions giving away to other Nations and the billions giving away in TANF programs across this Nation simply for the asking. The only people that are being denied are the Worker Policy holders. If these Courts are not making decisions in accordance to written law and can not clarify their decisions with written Law. Are you not speaking Common Law. The U.S. Constitution speaks of rules and guiding principles in matters of contriversies of $20 or more at common law and we assemble Juries. A dope feind can get TANF AND S.S.I. are you saying an Attorney can't do the same for his/her Disabled client. Duh ..I don't no what happen. Grab a copy of our last U.S Social Securty budget file it with the court and write a motion that says if the people of Haiti can have Social Securty Benifits than so shall your Disabled client.

  • Get Disability

    Well, she can still go to the appeals council.

  • Anonymous

    To Attorney Tomasz Stasiuk.. what I see more often at these hearings is that lets say Hellen Keller applied for disability at 20 but it took her until 25 to get a case.. she hires a social security attorney, she has enough documentation to show that she became disabled at 3 however these judges think it’s let’s make a deal,,,,,,, and give her the 12 month minimal backpay and the attorney only gets paid if he wins so he says take it. The judge says if you dont take it you could get nothing are you sure you want to gamble? so she takes it… This is corruption she should of been rewarded social security when she applied for it not because the judge wants to look good by saving the federal government money, and the attorney just wants to get paid. Really in this case who is advocating for the disabled? not the attorney not the judge!

    • http://planet10tech.com/ TomaszStasiuk

      The attorney wants to make money, but if the client gets less, the attorney gets less as well. Why would the lawyer advice a client to accept a deal to get less if the lawyer thought they could get more?

      If there is enough evidence to prove disability as of an earlier date (and to refuse the offer), there is no reason to accept.

      But, let accept your fact patter (ALJ wants to save money and the lawyer just wants to get it over with). Ultimately, **the client decides** whether to take an offer to change an onset date, or not.

      If the client feels it is a bad deal, the client doesn’t need to take the offer. The judge always asks the client on the record about the acceptance of any deals. The power is always in the client’s hands.

      • Anonymous

        TomaszStasiuk, thank you for your response but several things you said
        are misleading.
        1) The attorney wants to make money, but if the client gets less, the
        attorney gets less as well. Why would the lawyer advice a client to
        accept a deal to get less if the lawyer thought they could get more?
        It is simple……. if the Judge wants to play “lets make a deal” and
        tells the person he/she will only get 12 months back pay and if he/she
        doesnt take it the judge can rule against them.
        The attorney 99% of the time tells his/her client to take this why?
        because they dont have to do any more work and they get a quick 25%.
        the Judge remembers them on the next case.,. because the Attorney will
        see this judge again and again and again.

        The Judge will remember the attorney having his client take the 12
        months minimal and if the case is borderline disabled the judge will
        give it to the attorney. Remember all Attorney’s would rather settle
        on a case then going to court
        2) You said the client makes the ultimate decision… Do you actually
        believe that? When the Judge who has been in power for 15-20 years
        says to a disabled person “I find you disabled only if you take the 12
        month back pay” when a Judge says this the client doesnt have the
        ultimate decision. He is coerced into taking it. Then when he files
        for an onset date appeal he will get the same judge that told him to
        take the 12 months. So basically it is a corrupted system. Most of the
        judges in the country only give 12 months back pay despite if the
        person was disabled when they filed for disability.

  • kesha

    Go to hell tomaz stasiuk you are with the corrupt judges. Just like eric w borda in nc, GOD is the JUDGE!