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.