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What is a Social Security Appeals Council review, and what can I do if the Appeals Council denies my claim?

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Learn about Social Security Appeals Council reviews after a hearing denial, when to file a simultaneous new claim, and filing suit in Federal court.

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Watch the Video: "What is a Social Security Appeals Council review, and what can I do if the Appeals Council denies my claim?"

How to Appeal Your Hearing Denial

If your claim is denied by an Administrative Law Judge at the hearing—or you receive an only partially favorable hearing decision—and you wish to pursue your claim further, you can appeal one more time within the Social Security system. This appeal is called a Social Security Appeals Council review.

You must appeal to the Appeals Council within sixty days so that Appeals Council receives your appeal within sixty-five days of the date on your denial letter or notice of partially favorable decision. Send your request directly to the Appeal Council’s office in the State of Virginia. You can get the address and instructions on how to request the review by calling Social Security’s toll-free number (800) 772-1213, from your local Social Security office, or from Social Security’s website, www.ssa.gov.

Appeals Council Review Processing Times

The Social Security Administration does not offer statistics about the average length of time the Appeals Council takes to complete its review, but it is quite a long time, sometimes exceeding two years.

The Appeals Council Review Process

The Appeals Council can take a variety of actions on your request. It will look at your claim, the Administrative Law Judge’s hearing decision, and your appeal. It may then decline to review your case if all procedures were followed and decision appears reasonable. It may review the case and uphold the ALJ’s decision, or it may look at the evidence and approve your claim. Lastly, if the Council thinks that an error may have been made, it may send your claim back to the same law judge for further investigation and a second hearing. This is called remanding your claim. You can find more information about remanded claims in our article “What Happens if the Social Security Appeals Council Orders a Second Disability Hearing?”

A New Disability Claim While Your Appeal Pends

If you were still insured for Social Security Disability benefits on the date that your hearing appeal was denied, which is the date shown on your hearing Notice of Decision, you can file a brand-new disability claim. The new claim will be processed while your request for Appeals Council Review is being processed. If you do file a new claim, you must show your hearing denial date as the first date you became disabled. If your new claim is approved, benefits will start in the sixth full month after the hearing was denied. If your Appeals Council Review is approved, you will get back pay based on your first original application. It is possible to be approved on both the new claim and the Appeals Council Review. A lawyer who is versed in Social Security Disability law can be helpful with effectively filing a new claim and with forming your appeal.

Filing Suit in Federal Court

If the Appeals Council chooses not to review your claim or reviews and determines you are not disabled, you have the right, at your own expense, to sue the Social Security Administration for benefits in the Federal District Court.

For information about the levels of appeal that lead up to a Social Security Appeals Council review, see our articles “I Was Denied Social Security Disability. What Can I Do?”, “What is a Social Security Request for Reconsideration?”, and “What is a Social Security Disability Hearing and What Can I Expect When I Request a Disability Hearing?”

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169 Comments

  1. daleyoung says:

    I got six letters,in them they state that I have the write to file a civilbaction,was told this means my case is sent to O.A.or A.A.J/Last letter states AppealsCouncilAction/My name -socialunderneathwageearner——–then my social,it states the appeals council has received additional evidence in Wichita they are making part of file.What do I do?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dale, because of the apparent complexity of your claim status, I suggest that you call DisabilityAdvisor at 1-888-393-1010 (where you can get legal guidance at no cost) to speak with a Social Security attorney about the correspondence you have received.

    • Kevin says:

      “How much time ya got brother?”
      I feel like I can empathize with Robbins comment. I hired an attorney or a firm that now looking back totally misrepresented me. I filed back in 2012 I believe, there was denied, for some reason this law firm felt they needed to wait 60 days to file for an appeal? Anyway going on my disability is that I am completely freaking overwhelmed I have excessive and severe anxiety and depression and ADD, as well as a protruding disc in my back which causes me severe pain but was not addressed. I went through the whole Circus the whole gambit. Before a judge who chopped me down because I guess he thought I was lying I don’t know? In the denial from the hearing virtually every paragraph contradicts the one prior, I passed the test for disability with fine colors yet they denied me for reasons, I don’t know how to say this, I couldn’t read the entire denial and I can’t remember if I ever finished it because I would get so frustrated reading it, how it would negate itself. My psychiatrists input was thrown out because they said he said something in one place that he didn’t say and another, my input was thrown out because they said I lied. Through my doctor my psychiatrist random drug tests are performed pricier I guess to ensure that were taking her meds? Well marijuana showed up in one well over a year after my hearing with that judge. So at the time it been well over a year since I had used marijuana and the judge asked me how long is it been since you used marijuana, I stated I don’t know it’s been a long time. In the denial form it said that I lied because I told the judge Arabelle long time since I use marijuana. I don’t know what a long time definition is in Social Security terms but I thought well over a year was a long time? Idk, I am so confused so angry about this, moving on, so I got to the point where my attorney and I were going to sue the government the final stage in the appeal process. My attorney tells me that I need to get him $500 and tells me a date, which he knows or the firm should know that a major part of my disability is remembering dates, times, being on time, just remembering things. So allegedly I didn’t get him the $500 in time and they just let it slip through. They didn’t bother to call me a week before a day before anytime before to tell me “hey Kevin, you need to get that money into us.” Instead to let it go by without saying a word. Now after researching some the Social Security website states that if I am below the poverty level, which iamb that exceptions can be made and arrangements can be made so to say. I brought this up to my attorney and it took several attempts over several weeks. And they kept saying it’s too late don’t worry about it let it go. Well I just can’t and I am absolutely livid am going to call the bar on these shysters. They told me I would them $800 they would not release anything until I paid it. Then after I really put the hammer down on them about this out of the blue they sent me a letter stating although my case is unique it’s too late to file a civil claim. They withdrew and told me I didn’t owe them any money at all and also stated in the letter that they would be more than happy to give me any information that they have of mine or leaving on my case. I feel like I haven’t rattling on for ever I’m going to shot here. Can anyone comment on this or help me out? Thank you. Obviously there’s so much more that was not stated…

      • Kevin says:

        I have been reading up on this and I basically think I need to call the bar and asked their advice because my work credits had expired I’ll yeah forgot to tell you that part my work credits of expired in leiu of all this bullshit. Now I cannot collect disability any longer. And have to settle for just SSI. Can you see why I’m so angry?

        • Kevin says:

          It states and special circumstances the time to file can be extended I feel my circumstance is special

          • Kay Derochie says:

            Dear Kevin,

            I am not familiar with exceptions to appeal deadlines when the appeal is in District Court so I cannot comment.

            Sincerely,
            Kay

      • Kay Derochie says:

        Dear Kevin,

        Because you are out of the appeals period, I believe the option open to you is to file a new application claiming a disability onset date after the date of the hearing denial letter. You have to start from scratch on the new claim and resubmit everything because the prior claim will not be referenced.

        Sincerely,
        Kay

  2. daleyoung says:

    If I have write to file civil action was told mybcase will be sent to O.A.or A.A.J/for review and approval/last letter is whanting my signature as wage earner and they say they have recueved additional evidence.Exhibit/15/e/need free advise broke three vertabrea and have three titanium plates in neck,hip,knee,and eye surgeries.Thank God thatbim able to walkand not paralyzed,D.I.insured still no money

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dale, please see my response to your previous comment in which I recommend that you call DisabiltyAdvisor at 1-888-393-1010 for assistance.

  3. larryYoung says:

    My case is very complex.Talked to g overnment said they where waiting on sign off to get my benefits.Im still skeptical and frigjtned.I should have never ben denied.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Larry,

      It can be difficult to wait for a decision, especially when you have to appeal. It might be reassuring to find out from Social Security what actions still need to be taken to complete work on your claim and an approximate date they expect completion.

      The Disability Advisor

  4. june says:

    i went to my hearing8/28/13!!!! i have not gotten a letter saying i was denied or approved yet???

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear June,

      The guideline is for judge’s to render a decision within sixty days, which would just now have passed. However, sometimes it takes longer. You could contact the hearing office to find out if the decision is still pending or has been made and is being typed up to send you. (They will not tell you what the decision is over the phone.)

      Best regards,

      Kay

      • keith says:

        My name is Keith. I went for my social security hearing 5/21/2014….6/11/2014 I called the social security office and they said the alj made a decision and it’s with the writers……7/15/2014 I called the social security office and they said its in editing the alj was going over it…….need some help. It’s been going back and forth between editing and alj is this a good thing or bad it has been over 60 day’s now. ..still no letter

        • Kay Derochie says:

          Dear Keith,

          Apparently when the judge reviewed the letter for accuracy, he or she found something that needed changing. There is no way to know whether the decision is an approval or denial. Your appeal is in the final stages, and I would say it should be too long before your receive the letter.

          Sincerely,

          Kay

  5. Wesley says:

    If my lawyer filed suit citing many flaws of the ALJ and the appeal council chose not to review my file, How long should it take to get a reply [reversal or date]? I’m in north AL, but lawyer is in Birmingham

  6. What is concerted disabling disabilities?

  7. Excuse spelling. I was trying to ask what is considered a disabling disability. Example an bad back or sciatica,etc.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Debra,

      Any medical or mental condition can be disabling according to Social Security law if it is so severe that it has limited you or is expected to limit you from performing Substanial Gainful Activity (SGA) for twelve months. (Usually substantial work is work in which you can earn $1,040 gross earnings per month.) In determining whether you can perform SGA, the Social Security Administration (SSA) compares your limitations and the abilities that you retain with the kind of work you have done in the past (and if you are under age fifty, any other kind of work that you would be able to perform given your limitations, education, and transferable skills from your past work experience.)

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  8. Robin S. Hoppes says:

    Kay,
    My claim was filed in September of 2011 and denied of course. I had my ADJ hearing in Jan.2013. An unfavorable decision was rendered. I filed to have a review by the appeals council, and waited.I made sure my request was received. My original conditions I have been being treated for include Congestive Heart Failure, COPD, Chronic Hypertension, Kidney Failure, Headaches, Dizziness, Loss of breath,Heart murmurs, and Major Deppresive disorder, Anxiety. I was diagnosed with depression and was being treated for it at the time of my hearing, but it was never addressed. This is what I requested the AC look in to.
    On October 31 ,My cardiologist diagnosed me with Hypertrophic Cardiomyapathy, and it was confirmed ten days later. My Dr. referred me to Stanford HOCM center to discuss what she felt would be my options, to possibly improve my quality of life. I have an MRI scheduled and will talk to the surgeons at that time. I think I will choose the Septal Myectomy, (open heart surgery).
    My Physciatrist is also an MD and she is a very special person,she has contacted the AC and my file has been flagged as critical. We now are putting together updated records for them to review. We feel that my heart condition had been misdiagnosed up until now. The symptoms I have been dealing with have been more serious than anyone except me have known.
    What my question is. 1.The issue of my unaddressed deppression, is now secondary to my newest diagnosis.So which should be used. 2. Will my recently diagnosed condition and upcoming open heart surgery even be available to use? 3. Would I be better to just file a new claim based on my heart condition, even though I’ve been dealing with it as something less serious ?
    Any help would be great, Thanks Robin

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Robin,

      Social Security will consider all your conditions so there is no need to choose one over another. You do want to make the appeals council aware of all the changes in your health and new diagnoses. The planned surgery will be considered to the extent that it is an indication of the severity of your condition.

      Many people file a new claim concurrently with appealing to the appeals council. If you were still insured for Social Security on the date of the judge’s denial letter, you can file a new claim, claiming the date after the date of the denial. If your claim is for Supplemental Security Income, of course there is not earnings credit requirement and you could file a new SSI claim. Social Security will both process your new claim and continue to process your appeals council review.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

      • Robin S. Hoppes says:

        Kay, thank you for your reply. At the time I first filed my claim, I applied for both SSI and SSID and I am covered until the 31st of this month. Also my age is 50 years old I’ll be 51 the 10th of next month. So it looks like I had better get to my SSI office to file a new claim. What could it hurt, I guess ? I am not being represented by a lawyer, since my Dr. is personally helping me by sending copies each visit I have with all my doctors. She also is following up almost daily on my claim and it’s status. My Dr. is representing me like she was a lawyer, only her reward is for me to be approved so I can have the surgery. Thanks again for your help.
        Robin

        • Kay Derochie says:

          Dear Robin,

          Thanks for the update. Yes, it could be worth your while to apply again now that you are fifty years old because your residual abilities will now be compared only to the requirements of occupations you have performed in the past, not all occupations.

          Sincerely,

          Kay

          • Michael J Manning says:

            Dear Kay

            My ACJ

            Said I could not perform my past work and I am fifty but said there is one job sorting clothing I could do. But they were looking for other jobs I could do.

          • Kay Derochie says:

            Dear Michael,

            If you were not fifty when you initially claimed disability, the judge may be evaluating under one criterion for the time before you turned fifty and another for the period after. At age fifty, you only have to be disabled from work you have done in the past. Under age fifty, you have to be disabled from all occupations you could otherwise perform. If a dual investigation is going on, it is probably to determine the date you became disabled.

            Sincerely,

            Kay

          • Robin says:

            Hi Kay, well it all went bad. With my claim pending at the appeals council flagged as cal and me going in for major cardiac surgery. I received my denial during my first week of cardiac rehab and it put me back in the ICU for two more days.Now with nearly 3weeks of recovery and my sternum and incision healing better I am ready to file again. SSI has told me that all I need is file a new claim and they will use the date after my hearing as my new date of my disability starting.They make it sound so simple now that I have survived having over 10 grams of my enlarged heart muscle removed. Next I am going back in for Ventral Septal Defect repair. No breaking open my breastplate this time.Is there any secrets that I need to be aware of or will myself and my local Congresswoman Jackie Speiers office as my representative be able to make it smooth. And how long might this take now that they understand my condition nearly killed me.I feel that Hypertrophic Obstructive Cardiomyopathy should be a Qualifying condition especially since it is a inherited disease that I never new I had because I was adopted, not my fault. I feel pretty lucky 51 years later to have it almost fixed though, a new life ahead. I just cant believe how our government chooses to deal with some things. My son is a certified personal trainer with a 4.0 gpa and is dreaming of a career in the USAF but they say this inherited condition will keep him from living his dream, This is where I lose my mind and can not understand. Can someone make some sense of this for me. One nation under god and justice for ???? all.

          • Kay Derochie says:

            Dear Robin,

            Your new claim may take as long to process as other new claims, which is two to five months. It could be helpful to submit your recent operative report and discharge summary if they have not already been submitted.

            Sincerely,

            Kay

      • Monica says:

        I was told by many lawyers that if you are denied by administrative law judge and waiting to see what appeals council will say that you cannot file a new claim while waiting and I was reading this in the comments about you can do that while waiting on appeals

        • Kay Derochie says:

          Dear Monica,

          You can file a new Supplemental Security Income (SSI) claim while the Appeals Council is reviewing your appeal. You must claim a date of disability after the date of the judge’s denial letter. You can also file a new Social Security Disability (SSD) claim if you were still insured for SSD benefits on the day after the date on the judge’s denial letter. You can pursue the new claim(s) with appeals if necessary. If either the original claim or the new claim is approved while the other claim is pending, Social Security will review to see if the approval decision on one claim affects the review of the other.

          Sincerely,

          Kay

          • Monica says:

            So just to make sure I understand I am still insured for ssdi until dec 2015 so while they are reviewing my claims since it was denied at the adminstative law judge and I have other things that has happened to me and was hospitilized so I can still put in a new application while the appeals council is reviewing my claim and I am just confused as to why my lawyer assistant told me I could not do this and I live in Virginia I am just wondering why he did not inform that I could put in a new application why they are reviewing this

          • Kay Derochie says:

            Dear Monica,

            Thank you for following up with me. It has come to my attention that there has been a change in the law and I gave you incorrect advice. It is correct that you cannot file a new claim while your claim is pending at the Appeals Council. You will want to submit the new information about your new condition and hospitalization to the Appeals Council. They will not consider the new information in their review, but it will establish that your condition has changed. Then if your appeal is denied again, you can file a new claim with a new later incurred date, perhaps the date that you began to have new additional health problems.

            Sincerely,

            Kay

          • Robin C. says:

            Kay:

            I was recently denied at the Hearing process. I have an attorney and both of us are very puzzled and I just wanted your take on the reasons given for my denial.

            1- the judge found me unbelievable because I stated to my doctor I drink alcohol once a week or a couple times every other week but stated in my hearing I drink alcohol once in a blue moon.
            * Mind you there’s no question what’s so ever of alcohol abuse.

            2- He (the judge) didn’t really give to much weight to my medial history and treatment by my current doctor treating me for my illness because as the judge states….he felt my doctor just wrote down what I told him.

            These are the 2 reasons the judge list for his unfavorable decision/ my denial.

            *Please tell me you understand when I say WHAT!!!!!

          • Kay Derochie says:

            Dear Robin,

            It sounds as if the judge thought that your complaints were due to the use of alcohol, and no disability benefits are payable for alcohol abuse or drug addiction. That said, it sounds as if you should request an Appeals Council review with your attorney preparing the request.

            Sincerely,

            Kay

  9. Angela says:

    Hi kay, I applied for disability june 2013 for heart arrhythmia. However feburary 2013, I had a grand mal seizure. when I submited the application for disability that
    that was added to the application. 10 days later after applying for ssid which was june 25,2013. I started seeing a neurologist he told that i could not drive for 6monts ai had to report it the dmv. But i could continue to work. After that i had a seizure on july 28th in which I couldn’t continue to work due to the type of work I was doing. Per my doctor, since then started having petit mal seizures 4 or 5 times a month. The last gran mal seizure was september 2013, ect. When I appealed the decesion at the social security office. I was told that the application didn’t show anything about the seizures. The doctor has since then increase my medication. Can you help with this please?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Angela,

      Is your appeal still pending? If so, you need to see that your medical records that document your seizures get to Social Security as soon as possible. It could also be helpful to hire legal assistance for your appeal, especially if your first appeal was denied and you are now requesting a hearing. You can obtain an excellent Social Security attorney by calling Disability Advisor at 1-888-393-1010. You do not have to pay any legal fees up front and you will pay attorney fees only if you are approved for benefits. Social Security law sets the amount your attorney can charge and the Social Security Administration pays the attorney directly from your retroactive award at the time they send your back pay to you. So, it’s all very easy and risk-free.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

      • Hello Kay, Thank you for responding back. I spoke with someone from social security on Thursday. I was told that I would get a letter this week and that’s all that they could tell me. I’m trying so hard to remain positive about it. I would like to add that my neurologist gave me an additional 6 or 7 months off because the seizures are coming more. I’ll keep this number to contact the lawyers if need. lastly, I’ll let you know the outcome of it. Again thank you for your response. Angela

  10. Angela says:

    Hello Kay, thank you fir replying back. I was told on last week that I would receive a letter from social security this week. I spoke with someone from my neurologist office she stated to me that my neurologist report that I was having more seizures and how often.

  11. Angela says:

    Hello Kay, I was denied again for social security. They feel that I’m able to work with my condition. which I totally disagree. the type of work that I do requires driving. the last job I had, I was driving about 43 miles round trip 5 days a week. when the seizures started coming more I had to cut down to three days. once I had a gran mal while at work…. I had to stop working and my doctor is aware of all of this …… social security spoke with the client that witness me having a gran mal seizure….I have no clue when a seizure is coming on. they denied me for my heart condition. so I re-appealed it for the seizures only. when I received a letter today I notice they contacted my cardiologist. why would they do that??? that has nothing to do with the seizures…… the only things that I can think of is that they may be going by the old information from when I first applied. either my neurologist is not reporting everything. I keep records of all the seizures. I will get a copy of my doctor report from the neurologist and contacting a lawyer. Is it possible for them to be looking at the information from when I first applied?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Angela,

      Apologies for the late response. Our site has had a software problem, which is now resolved.

      When you appeal, the entire file is reviewed. The examiner might have contacted your cardiologist to clarify something that he or she thought was not clear in your file. When you get an attorney and appeal, as you indicated, it is a good idea to get all your neurology records, including any log you have of the frequency and severity of your seizures.

      Just a note: To be eligible for benefits, if you are under fifty years of age, you must be medically unable to perform any occupation that you could reasonably otherwise perform, not just occupations you have performed in the past.

      Best regards,

      Kay

    • Monica says:

      Hello Kate is there anyway you can give me some advice which this will be kind of long but here it goes
      I had my hearing on Dec 11 with Adminstrative law judge and he did not ask me any questions except my address well my lawyer was thrilled due to after hearing he said it went so well that the only thing the judge will do is to so start onset at a certain date and the vocational judge told the judge that I could not do any of my previous jobs in the past and the 3 that she went over said that with my conditions I could not even do them I would be fired so she said I could not even work. Well my date was dec 11 and I got a notice dec 24 and this was due to since I have not worked since 2010 but my brother filed ssdi for me in 2012 due to me being in denial but I have been seeing my psychiates and doctors and my doctor even on letter that judge ruled she said I was not able to work at all. But my lawyer said I would get a decision in about 3 to 6 months but I guess I was just finding out that due to my brother whom has been supporting me financially and my kids in order to get things speeded up he had wrote letters to senators that speeded things up and get this the senator wrote and emailed my brother saying he contacted the judge and showed it and said he will be back in contact with him. Well from my brother talking to some of his friends and one that is a lawyer he said my brother should not of contacted senator due to it pissed the judge off due to my case was great and I have even the judge put it on paper I have a long history of treatment with my doctors well he ruled unfavoriable and I think this was due to senator calling and it takes a while to get a decison back and my date was dec 11 and I got a letter dec 24 with his decision and the judge said alot of lies in this which he said I was not creditable and he did not even ask me any questions which was so confusing and then he said I have a long history and it seems like he did not even care what my experieced doctors had to say they said I could not even work and even the vocational judge ruled in my favor so all my brothers friendds was saying to him that he pissed the judge off and that is why he did what he did when I called my lawyers they were even shocked they were like really are you sure which they had not got the papers yet but they were also shocked that the decision was also so quick so now they are writing up something to either repramand or appeal now I am more depressed due to I am reading on how even if it goes to appeal they can deny it And I am just lost can someone please help due to my brothers friend was like I can later or my brother can file something against the judge due to the vocational judge said I cannot work the jobs and my doctors said I cannot work I am just so burned out and lost and would hate to start all over due to my credits expire I found out dec 2015

      Just to add on to this to let you know more about this that I think the judge was upset over Senator calling because in decision of unfavoriable he went on to say even though the vocational expert said that even though I have a college degree I could not do any of my past jobs and the 3 that she found I could do said that with my medical conditions I would not be able to do those 3 and would be fired. So on the letter this is what he said After carful consideration of the entire record the undersigned finds that the claimant has the residual functional capacity to perform work at all exertional leverls provided the workd does not involve more than occasional contact with coworkers, supervisors, or the genral puplic due to limitations. Now I am so confused because the vocational experet even said that I could not do the 3 that she found so I am confused as to why the judge even went against her and the only think is that the senator called him and he got pissed off and rushed my decsion so I am wondering if my lawyer appeals this will they listen to the tapes and the vocational expert who said I cannot work the 3 jobs and will they listen to him not even asking me nothing when he listed me as not being crediable and he did not ask me anything except my address? Please help and advice I am so depressed on this. Is there a chance to win due to my lawyer has appealed to appeals council due to he said I have a strong case and also I have now been in and out of the hospitals

      • Kay Derochie says:

        Dear Monica,

        To approve you, the judge has to decide that you are limited as you claim and, if so, that you cannot work given your limitations. I believe the central issue to the judge’s decision as he wrote it is that he did not believe you were as limited as you and your doctors said.

        The Appeals Council will review to see whether they think the judge’s decision was reasonable and correctly arrived at. It not, they will remand the appeal to the judge with a request that certain factors be more thoroughly investigated or considered. The Appeals Council review can take from a year to two years.

        It is possible to file a new claim while the Appeals Council review is in progress. To do so, you must claim a date of disability at least one day after the date of the judge’s denial letter. You can pursue the new claim(s), appealing any denial if necessary. If either the original claim or the new claim is approved while the other claim is pending, Social Security will review to see if the approval decision on one claim affects the review of the other. I suggest that you discuss this option with our attorney.

        Sincerely,

        Kay

  12. Mary Ann Fecht says:

    Hi Kay,
    I was wondering if you could tell me how long it takes to hear the results from a hearing with a ALJ my hearing was Nov 8, 2013 in Lincoln, Ne. Maybe I am being impatient. A friend told me I would hear by the end of the month that the judges want all there cases closed by then. Is there any truth to this.

    Thanks for your time
    Mary Ann Fecht

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Mary Ann,

      Apologies for the late response. Our site has had a software problem, which is now resolved.

      The guideline is for judges to render a decision within sixty days, though it often takes longer. If you haven’t heard withing ninety days, you might call the hearings office to find out whether the decision is still pending or is in the letter writing unit, meaning a decision has been made.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  13. Debra says:

    Hi Kay:

    I applied for SSI Disability in Dec 2011 with an onset date October 2010. I was denied at the first level and reconsideration level. I then hired an attorney for an ALJ hearing. My attorney felt my case was very strong and could be decided favorable on review and before the hearing. My case went to hearing and the ALJ denied me benefits. In his decision I don’t see where he gives my back surgeons opinion much weight in his decision. I am 57 years old, female, have suffered from back issues that many times prevent me from walking and I need to crawl. I have been through spinal injections, PT, etc. Additionally, I have fallen several times because of my back injuring my knee that required surgery and I also broke my ribs as a result of falling. I have MRI’s stating dis issues and arthritis in all areas of my back and 10 days before my ALJ hearing, I had another MRI stating that I have Central Canal Stenosis in 4 areas of my lumbar as well as neuraforimal stenosis in 3 lumbar areas. The ALJ was presented with this new MRI and allowed the MRI as part of the case. My attorney is now telling me she doesn’t believe the Appeals Council will remand my case because she believes the way in which the ALJ wrote his decision. I so upset as I have struggled since 2010 when my back issues 1st started. Also, during my ALJ hearing, my attorney apologized to the ALJ because a form indicating my capabilities or something like that , never was faxed in. Can you please share some advice with me ?
    Thank you

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Debra,

      Although your attorney may be right, I would still appeal to the Appeals Council stating why you think that the judge did not fully consider the evidence about your back. Also, you do not say whether the form with the capabilities that was not faxed was presented at the hearing. If it was not and your attorney indicated it would be submitted and the judge didn’t wait to consider it in his opinion, then that would be a good point to bring out.

      Best regards,

      Kay

  14. jay says:

    Hi Kay; I have a SSDI federal appeal case pending, and I filed a new case for SSI and was approved. Does this approval SSI help my chances of winning my appeal?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Jay,

      Apologies for the delayed response. Our site has had a software problem, which is now resolved.

      Your approval for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) could help your Social Security Disability (SSDI appeal), especially if you were still insured for Social Security Disability on the date you were determined to have become disabled for your SSI claim. Be sure that the attorney representing you in your appeal knows about the SSI approval.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  15. Gab says:

    Hi my claim was denied by the judge. First I tried on my own n it was denied then I got an attorney n we finally saw the judge n I was declined for the 2nd time. I suffer from A.S. ankylosis spondylitis, migraines, had ASD heart closure, had 13 ER visits that led to hospital stays because my S.I. Joint locked up n I could not walk. Now I found out that my pituitary tumor is 4 times the size from a year ago. 13 mm to be exact in addition to that tumor another “mass” was found in my brain. I suffer daily from headaches the migraines. In addition to the chronic back pain from the A.S. and the list of medication that I am on does NOT allow me to drive when on it, which is daily. I find it unfair that I have 2 suffer and then to be denied. Something should be done to help those that really need the help and all of this “red tape” is just crazy. Please someone help me, I’m in California. Thanks, gab

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Gab,

      Apologies for the delayed response. Our website has had a software problem, which is now resolved.

      I suggest that you file a new claim, claiming a later disability date, perhaps the date that the “mass” was found in your brain. Indicate on your application that you applied previously, but your condition has worsened and a brain mass has been discovered. Attach copies of the brain imaging reports.

      Best regards,

      Kay

  16. Debra says:

    I have Fibromyalgia, Depression, Chronic Migraines, Anxiety, and Crohns. I was turned down of course then went to a ALJ hearing. The ALJ denied me even though the expert said there wasnt a job I could do. Now I am at the Appeals Council. My question is do you think I have a chance of getting disability??

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Debra,

      Because your appeal is still pending, there is a chance of approval. If the judge did not fully consider all the evidence or made some other procedural error, it is possible that the Appeals Council will remand your claim to the judge for a second hearing, at which the denial could be reversed.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  17. I am in my 4th appeal stage and my paperwork is in Virginia. It was sent there June 2013. I called for status update and they said it went to Review on December 31st. I submitted an additional 36 pages of medical evidence that my attorney did not submit at my hearing. My attorney has since quit my case, and that is fine. I was told in September 2013 that my case had been marked “Critical”. Can you explain what that means? The Office Of Appeals could not give me a time frame for review and I figured that. I am thinking probably 2 more months before I hear anything. The other think I am wondering is, once they are in in the hands of the Reviewer again, do they work strictly on that case, or do they work on mutiple cases daily and just alot a short time daily to the case that is now assigned to them?

    Thank you,
    Patricia

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Patricia,

      “Critical” designation of a claim before the Appeals Council means that the appeal has been given a high priority status for review. It does not mean that it is first in line. “Sent for review” means that it has passed the first screening and is likely assigned to a specific reviewer. I do not know how an individual reviewer may work, but reviewers certainly have more than one appeal assigned at a time. You are probably right that it could still be a few months before a decision.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  18. Jama Clevenger says:

    I applied in June 2010, have been denied, all the way thru to the Appeals Council even my attorney kept telling me how strong my case was. I have Ataxia, resulting from a stroke. This is rare, no cure, causes imbalance and uncoordination. I also have been diagnosed with Depression and Fibromyalgia. After being denied by Appeals Council in 2012, I let my attorney go. I live in IN, she was in MS. She had been recommended by the Ataxia Foundation. At my ALJ hearing, I was told there were 6500 jobs I could do, my attorney never said a word. My neurologist, rheumotologist, & pychatrist could not beleive I was denied. I reapplied in Oct 2012, only to be denied again. I have retained yet another attorney. Since I had to reapply in 2012, I am no longer eligible for ssi. I would’ve qualified in 2010. I was told at the ssi office, when i reapplied, I would only be eligible for $710 a month. I haven’t had any type of income since 2010, I have solely been dependent on family & freinds. Will it take another year? Is there anything I can do?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Jama,

      Ask your new attorney to study all the evidence for your case and the judge’s ruling very carefully now and to tell you how he or she will present your case differently and/or what evidence he/she thinks is missing, if any, so that you can provide it if you can. You can also get statements from you neurologist, rheumatologist, and psychiatrist in which they state the limitations they believe you have and the clinical or test findings that support those limitations.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  19. susan says:

    I to have denied still in appeals going on 17 months. My lawyer said my work history is not consided. When this all started I had worked in construction back when women had to work harder just to prove they were able to do a mans job.I’m 54 know and have always weighed 110 but I had to pay for home and child. The monies I payed in I no longer can get thanks to the gov. lagging behind mean while 6 people I alone know got ssi with out even getting a lawyer just by claming bipolar or some mental problem. Don’t get me wrong the people that truly have problems should get it. I hnow that everyone knows someone that draws monies, should not be getting it on the other hand we that truly need it and have paid in on it have to have ONE FOOT IN THE GRAVE before we can maybe get ours.Our gov. is so messed up, I am so ashamed of the my it is run! SIGNED STILL WAITING

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Susan,

      Social Security law does consider work you have done in the past. Because you are over fifty, you only have to be disabled from work you have done in the past. The only way they would not look at the work a person of your age had done would be if your condition is so severe that it meets the Social Security disability listings.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  20. Mary says:

    First file in 2011 been denied twiceonce bye ssi and once bye adj so if am denied again whats my next step

    • Kay Derochie says:

      TO ALL WHO READ THIS, PLEASE NOTE THERE IS AN ERROR IN MY ANSWER. PLEASE SEE SECOND ANSWER TO MARY WHICH I POSTED ON 2/13/14.

      Dear Mary,
      You can file a new Supplemental Security Income (SSI) claim, claiming a date of disability after the date of the judge’s denial letter. The new claim will be processed while you wait for the Appeals Council review (your current level of appeal), which can take two years. You can also file a new Social Security Disability (SSD) claim while your appeal is pending if you still had enough work credits to be insured after the date of the judge’s denial letter.

      If the Appeals Council review is not successful and you want to pursue the first claim further, you would file a lawsuit in Federal District Court. (You would have to pay the court costs.)

      Sincerely,

      Kay

      • Mary says:

        So why i am waiting for and decision so long itbeen a year since my last denied letter do this mean I want get a favourable outcome

        • Mary says:

          At the time of my hearing their was doctor saying I need surgery but the judge said I was still able to work but I do have doctor saying am not abke to work idk so tired have some help but they never have thing to tell me like this their first time with this plz help

          • Kay Derochie says:

            Dear Mary,

            There was an error in my previous reply to you. You cannot file a new claim while your appeal is pending at the Appeals Council. Here is the correct information.

            After the Appeals Council has made a decision, if you are denied again, you can file a new Supplemental Security Income (SSI) claim, claiming a date of disability after the date of the judge’s denial letter. You can also file a new Social Security Disability (SSD) claim if you still had enough work credits to be insured after the date of the judge’s denial letter.

            If the Appeals Council review is not successful and you want to pursue the first claim further, you can file a lawsuit in Federal District Court. (You would have to pay the court costs.)

            Sincerely,

            Kay

        • Kay Derochie says:

          Dear Mary,

          You will not know the outcome of your claim until you last appeal, which is pending, has been completed. My prior response provides information about the process.

          Best regards,

          Kay

      • Nick says:

        Kay, I believe you are WRONG, you can no longer have two applications (claims) being processes at the same time. Are you an Attorney????

        • Kay Derochie says:

          Dear Nick,

          You are correct; I am wrong. I am not an attorney, just a subject expert. I do try to keep up with changes in Social Security law and procedures, but I missed the change you referenced. It is correct that an individual cannot file a new claim while an appeal is pending at any level, including the Appeals Council. If the Appeals Council denies the claim and you have new information to provide, you can file a new claim with an onset date after the date of the hearing denial letter.

          Sincerely,

          Kay

  21. Monica says:

    Thank you so much Kay for your help due to this site is very helpful and I am so glad that I came across this site.

  22. Monica says:

    Ok just to a make sure I understand this meaning if for some reason the appeals council is in agreement with the judge and I have a lawyer and I want to take the last step and appeal it to the federal and while waiting on the federal to decide I can still put in a new application while waiting on the federal decison or is this still not correct I would have to still wait now on a federal decision

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Hi Donna,

      I appreciate your appreciation of Clay’s efforts. You are paying him, you know (When he works on jobs I have contracted, I hire him as a subcontractor.) That said, if you wish to give him a thank you “tip,” he enjoys running down the hill to Burgerville.

      The Meyer’s quote would make a good title, too bad it’s her words (though maybe you could get permission from her to use it as a title and even have her review your book. Why not think big? Otherwise,
      a title for your work is likely to emerge as we work on the book. I will take a look at her video when I can make time.

      Without having read your book yet, my opinion would be to leave the vision in because it is part of your story. I’ll let you know if that opinion changes later.

      The seminar I mentioned is taught by Vinnie Kinsella through Indigo Editing in Portland. You will find a description of Vinnie’s “Being Your Own Publisher” class at this URL: http://www.indigoediting.com/workshops. It is an hour and a half hours and costs $45. I think he offers it every one to two months. My memory may be failing me, but I thought he taught a more extensive, more extensive class also, but I may be mistaken. You could call or email Indigo Editing to find out if he offers more than one type of self-publishing class.

      Indigo Editing also offers preparation of books for self-publishing, which might be of interest to you after you write the copy for the more recent years and after we finish editing the manuscript.

      Lastly, having your counselor read your book and write either a short statement about it for the back cover or even a preface sounds like a great opportunity. However, I strongly recommend that you wait until you and I have finished revising the manuscript, so that he is reading the book in the form it is to be published.

      Kay

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Monica,

      I am not certain, but I think because you would have exhausted all the appeals in the Social Security system, you could file a new claim based on a later date of disability while the lawsuit was pending in District Court. I suggest that you check with your attorney to be sure.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  23. Amanda Agee says:

    How come it takes so long to hear back from the appeals councilcan I back out of the appeal and restart. I wanted to restart if I can so I can add more info that has changed since I started. As I wait on the appeal my condition has changed and they won’t let me report it. If I can back out,how do I do that,and will it hurt my case?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Amanda,

      If you have an attorney I recommend that you discuss your options with the attorney. It is possible that you could submit a written request to withdraw your request for review by the Appeals Council. A word of caution: If you are claiming Social Security Disability (called SSD or SSDI) and not just Supplemental Security Income (SSI), be sure that you were still insured for Social Security after the date of the judge’s decision. If you were not, withdrawing your request for Appeals Council review would likely remove the possibility of getting Social Security Disability (SSDI) on a new claim.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  24. Terri Nelson-Stoltman says:

    What does a friend of mine due if he was denied benefits. I let him stay at my house until things change for him. He has hard time breathing and doing daily things. He has a letter he received from his doctor saying he can’t work due to his health. He don’t go to doctor no more because he has no insurance or money to pay for help. What should be his next step to appeal the decision.

    Terri

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Terri,

      Your friend should appeal the denial if he is unable to work. You might write up a statement of what you observe about his breathing and daily activity limitations to submit with the appeal, but he also could benefit from hiring an attorney with Social Security and Supplemental Security disability experience. You can obtain an excellent Social Security attorney by calling Disability Advisor at 1-888-393-1010. You do not have to pay any legal fees up front and you will pay attorney fees only if you are approved for benefits. Social Security law sets the amount your attorney can charge and the Social Security Administration pays the attorney directly from your retroactive award at the time they send your back pay to you. So, it’s all very easy and risk-free.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  25. tiredofsuffering says:

    I have been mistreated by ssa,my case was denied at the alj hearing.i am over 50 years of age got hurt on my job in 1998,the right leg was badly injured leaving the foot hanging by skin only.my tib & fib broke around the ankle and below the knee,in 2006 both legs went out the pain was very bad.the doctor told me that no one could help me an that I needed to fight for disability.the pain is 24 / 7 and I went to the hospital there I was told I have fibro from my shoulders down to my elbows,now my body is totaly in pain,the judge said in his decision he knows I can’t do past history work.the v.e stated that wouldn’t nobody hire me at my age on a cane,but the judge overlooked all med records,held paperwork until all my qt’s had expired,leaving me with only 29 days to appeal and my lawyer at that time said he couldn’t do a appeal.something wasn’t right with the judge & lawyer on my case.God is good,he allowed a law firm to take my case an they are members of ssa / ALJ.waiting to hear from appeals council about all errors that was found.please comment on the odar office ponzi scheme on SSI-vs-SSD.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Tired of Suffering,

      I will post your comment of dissatisfaction. If the judge did not follow proper procedures, the Appeals Council will order a second hearing.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  26. tammie says:

    Hi! Can you tell me the “stages” of the appeals process? I called the appeals council and they said its” under review by recommendation”?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Tammie,

      The three levels of appeal within the Social Security system are reconsideration, hearing, and Appeals Council review. The Appeals Council can either decline to review the facts of the claim according to their rules or decide to review the facts of the case and the hearing procedures to see whether the denial was arrived at properly. It sounds as if your claim was accepted for review. If they decide that the hearing failed to properly address all issues, they will remand (send back) your claim to the judge for more investigation and a second hearing.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  27. APPEAL’S COUNCIL.:/ NEW p.o box 50536
    mpls.,55403

    BALTIMORE MD. 20201

    DEAR SIR’S.,

    I HAVE APPLIED ACTUALLY YEAR’S AND YEAR’S BACK NOW. I HAV4 SUBMITTED A VERY DETAILED: mri -MAPS PAIN CLINIC

    HOWEVER IN 2002. BEFORE QUITTING MY WORK POSITION IIN THE COUNTY OF HENNEPIN BOTH AS A RECEPTIONIST AND TAX CLERK….ALSO FILLING IN THEIR C/D ROM FOR WORKERS WITH DISABILITY CLAIMS FOR THE COUNTY.
    a-CONFLICT WITH MY FORMER CO WORKERS EXIST.S;.

    i FILMED ALL THEIR RECORDS FROM MY EARLY YEARS AND USE TO LICENSE NOT CHILD CARES BUT USE TO PAY HENNEPINS CONTRACTED CLIENT LIST….ONE OF OUR JOBS WAS TO DETERMINE IF THEY WOULD GET THAT BENEFIT. NO…..THAT WAS ONLY A DAYCARE AGENTS JOB TO SEE IF THEY WOULD GET PAID…

    THIS LAWYER …I BELEIVE HAS NOT FILED DISABILITY FOR ME….i HAVE ENOUGH RETIREMENT CRETITS TO RETIRE NOW AT THE TIME
    I HAD TO SEE….THE RESIGNATION THREW.

    i AM NOT ONLY MAKING 30,500.00 IN THAT WORKPLACE …I DID NOT TAKE MY WORK LIGHTLY.

    i HAVE CARPEL TUNNEL NOW…THIS STARTED IN 1985

    NIGHT BLINDNES….AND SUFFERED FROM EYE BURN…EXTREME PRESSURES AT THE WORKSITE ALSO FORCED ME TO STOP…

    I AM NOT ABLE TO KEEP ON THAT DEMAND…THEIR WAS NO INTEREST
    IN HELPING ME. AND THIS ALSO WENT THREW AT THE STATE UNEMPLOYMENT OFFICE……

    I PUT IN ALL MY PAYMENTS AND THEN SOME.
    MR. TOOMEY HAS RECEIVED AND DID NOT REFUND TO ME 6000.

    I HAVE NOW BY SNOWFALL BROKEN MY LEFT HAND…

    i DON’T BELEIVE …UNFORTUNATELY MY DAUGHTER RETURNED THE
    MONEY I AM IN NEED OF.

    pLEASE RETURN . MY BACK PAY …THIS AREA BELEIVES…A VERY SMALL PORTION OF PEOPLE ARE MIXING A LOT OF PEOPLE UP; HERE.
    83,000.00 estimated last year with out interest.
    i have worked ledgers as long as your photo lab counters….counted numerous
    boxes of fishing licenses all /…i under the watchfull eye’ of .the camaras.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Jeannie,

      It appears you have misdirected your correspondence. This site answers general questions about Social Security and SSI. If you wish to correspond with Social Security’s Appeals Council, their address is
      Appeals Council, SSA/ODAR
      5107 Leesburg Pike
      Falls Church, VA 22041-3255

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  28. Steve says:

    Hello Kay
    You mention in your article that it is possible to file a new disability claim while the appeals counsel is reviewing your case… is that still true? About 2 years ago my case was appealed to the appeals council and when I tried to file a new claim the manager of the local SS office forced me to sign a document to dismiss my case. 1> Shouldn’t have SS contacted my lawyer about that instead of pressuring me? 2> Was dismissing that case really necessary?
    Anyway, the appeals council did remand my case even though I agreed to dismiss. Now waiting on the ALJ decision after the remand hearing. The judge did ask about that document, I told him I just did what I was told to do by the SS office manager.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Steve,

      Regulations have changed. A person can no longer file a new claim while the original claim is pending with the Appeals Council. If your remanded claim is denied, you can file a new claim, if you are still insured, claiming a disability date after the hearing decision.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  29. Confused2014 says:

    March 27th, 2014

    I filed my original SSDI claim and it was denied on or about May 14th. In the meantime I filed a second claim (new claim). The new claim was approved on May 15th, but the $75K in back benefits from the May 14th claim was not paid to me? I have a letter from the Administrative Judge that states “I am aware you filed a NEW claim for SSDI, I will count the new claim the same as the old claim, which means I may deny you benefits…………”

    According to SSA POMS “if a valid reason exists for not responding to the appeals committee, such as hospitalization and/or severe mental issues the claim/case may still be heard before the appeals council…”

    Can your organization help me with this?

    I respect your time and I do not want to be too “long-in-the-tooth” on the website.

    One lawyer said he would help me but his fee was 40% of the total $75K potential SSDI back payment?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Confused,

      I cannot understand what is currently pending regarding your claims or at what level the issues are pending. (I am unsure why you quoted regulations, but assume it is because you did not respond to some request from the appeals council in the time frame they gave.) I agree that you need legal assistance to sort this out. By law, attorneys can not receive more than $6,000 to represent you if you are still within the Social Security appeals system. If you would like to discuss whether Disability Advisor can provide legal assistance with your claims, call 1-888-393-1010. You do not have to pay any legal fees up front and you will pay attorney fees only if you are approved for benefits. Social Security law sets the amount your attorney can charge and the Social Security Administration pays the attorney directly from your retroactive award at the time they send your back pay to you. So, it’s all very easy and risk-free.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  30. tete says:

    If the ssi said a desiciin has been made that its getting reveiwed what does this mean im schitOfrenic bipoler manic deppression and obsesive disorder.do you think all be approved im so depressed i also have really bad insiaty attacks

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Tete,

      Your claim is being reviewed could mean that the medical decision is being reviewed by the quality assurance department for accuracy or it could mean that the medical review is complete and the non-medical factors are being reviewed. I suggest that you call again and ask them to clarify the type of review that is being done. If it is for non-medical factors, ask what you need to submit, if anything, for the review and when they expect to complete the review.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  31. Kay Derochie says:

    Dear Tired of Suffering,

    None of your comments are being posted because this site serves a specific purpose and your comments are outside that purpose. Additionally, I no longer read your posts, so you may suspend your efforts and stop posting to this site.

    Thank you.

    Kay

  32. mslove says:

    I have been reading some of the post on this website…..I am just wondering has anyone ever recieved SSD?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Ms. Love,

      Oh yes, people do get approved for disability. 8,942,584 individuals receive Social Security disability benefits and about 6,200,000 receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI) disability benefits.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  33. Claire says:

    I am currently waiting for a hearing with the AJL. I really have no idea how this process works. My question is how long does it take from the time you get your letter that a hearing has been requested to the actual hearing and does a SSD attorney make a really big difference?

    Another question I have, is if you go through and exhaust all avenue’s that disability has can you apply for SSI still?

  34. Aria says:

    Kay,

    Thank you very much for this website, it is very helpful and insightful. I do have a question, I have heard that age is a determining factor in SSD cases. I am only in my 30′s but, suffer from mental disorders, which I have suffered from since 2005. Will my age prevent me from getting SSD? I have tried to work mostly in an office setting but, my disorders prevent me from lasting or I get fired from calling out sick so much, the last employment I had was in 2009 in an office with 6 people even that was to much, they tried to accommodate me by going down from full to part time but, even that was to much. So I wonder if my age is to young to be given SSD or maybe I should have gone after SSI instead?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Aria,

      Age is a factor in that if you are under age fifty, being disabled for Social Security Disability (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits means you are not only unable to work in occupations you have done in the best but also that you cannot do any other kind of work that you would be qualified for given your education, training, and work experience.

      That said, the best way to find out whether you meet the requirement is to file an application. In your case, I suggest listing the approximate dates (month and year beginning and end dates if possible) you worked in each job and the disability-related reasons that the work ended. You also need to decide which date of disability to claim. If you worked in each job six months OR had gross monthly earnings below the amounts shown below, I suggest claiming the first date that you left work because of your mental health (whether fired or quit). Claiming the first date possible may make it more likely that you will have the needed work credits for SSDI.

      In 2014, $1070
      In 2013, $1040
      In 2012, $1010
      In 2011, $1000
      In 2010, $1000
      In 2009, $980
      In 2008, $940
      In 2007, $900
      In 2006, $860
      In 2005, $860

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  35. Blkbarbie says:

    Dear Kay,
    I am in the appeals council process and I have new information such as MRIs and other medical records. Where do I send my new information to or is it too late.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Blkbarbie,

      If you have an attorney, give the evidence to your attorney and have him or her submit it. If you do not have an attorney, you can send it to
      SSA/ODAR
      5107LeesburgPike
      Falls Church, VA 22041-3255

      Send a cover letter asking it to be associated with your request for Appeals Council review. Be sure that your Social Security number is on the cover letter and on every page of evidence you submit.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  36. Scott says:

    If my case is under review by the appeals council can i still hire an attorney or advocate while it is going through this stage of the process???

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Scott,

      Yes, you can hire an attorney while your claim is pending Appeals Council review. When you are deciding whether it would be best for you to do so, you might ask the attorney before hiring what actions he could take on your behalf for the appeal.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

      • Scott says:

        I filed before the appeals council almost a year ago, do you think a lawyer or advocate would still take the case beings that its been under the appeals council so long???

        • Kay Derochie says:

          Dear Scott,

          If you think that there is information that needs to be conveyed to the Appeals Council, it could be helpful to have an attorney present it; however, getting an attorney will not speed up the action of the Appeals Council. It is not unusual to wait two years for the Council to complete the review. If the Council remands your claim to the judge for a second hearing, then it could be helpful to have an attorney represent you at the second hearing.

          Sincerely,

          Kay

  37. Scott says:

    Posted a question concerning case status during the time your case is before the appeals council & my thread is not even showing, do i have to make a new one? Why isn’t my post showing???

  38. Brittany says:

    Please help I am at my wits end with SS. I have received ssi and ssd from the time I was 18 until just a month ago when I learned my case was up for review and I was denied continuation of my benefits do to “health improvement” I suffer from a array of different conditions from nerve neuropathy, multiple bulging discs, curvature in spine. in 2012 I had a spinal cord stimulator placed from the base of of my skull down my spine to help alleviate some of the neurological pain that I suffer from. The spinal cord stimulator was placed only in hopes of really VA ting some of the pain that I have which it does, about 25 to 30 percent of the time. Like anything with time it becomes normal to the point that I can’t feel it working anymore and I must turn it off for a couple days to feel the full effect again. That is the only change in my medical condition over the last 7 years since I have been receiving my disability. my doctor has urged me to continue fighting to keep my benefitsbecause he feels it’s unrealistic for me to work any amount of time. The question that is really on my mind right now is during this process wouldn’t they take both of my SSI and SSD away from me? A bit of information; I did file to receive my money during the appeal process but was a day late interning my paperwork in because I haven’t given the runaround and want to SS in that four different times and that 10 day.

    • Brittany says:

      I’m sorry everything is kind of jumbled I do a speek to text.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Brittany,

      If Social Security has determined that you are not disabled, then both your Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) will stop. I do not fully understand the last bit (as you noted, it is jumbled). I think you are saying that you have appealed and requested continuation of benefits in time for the appeal, but too late for continuation of benefits. If you went into Social Security before the ten-day time frame for continuation, you may be able to make a case for continuation of benefits because you began the appeals process when you first went in. If you do not have an attorney, you may need one to help present your case. Also, you need to make a clear statement of why your condition has not improved enough to work and you should be sure that Social Security has any medical records that would support your physician’s opinion.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  39. michelle barker says:

    Hi I started my application back in may of 08 and was denied went back to court for my 2nd denial, I hv now been to court last yr in aug and was sent for a mental evaluation and both court and mental doc were in my favor, which saw the doc n nov and im still waitn for a desion help ..o also would the lettercome ccertified I wasnt home and hv a slip 2 pick up something at usps and not expecting a package of any sor

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Michelle,

      Hearing decision letters are not typically sent certified. However, if Social Security has been trying to reach you and you haven’t responded, they might send a final request certified.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  40. kim says:

    I Have been reading peoples post and I guess iam confuzed and maybe
    someone can answer so i can understand.Iam 47 and 3 years ago was dianosed with
    ADDISON’S , and DEPRESTION , I have worked in the work world sence i was 14 years
    old, have jobs from factorys, to bar managers, cashier, differnt kind of jobs.. last job i was
    trying to do with my Dieases, they let me go, a year went by can not work .. Dr said i will not beable
    to work .. well yes denied.. waiting on appeal had lawer on it 4 days after denial letter came in.
    sorry trying to give facts.. My Friends Daughter never worked.. she just over weight..
    she can do computers, she blogs All Day.. she was appoved 6months.. i do not understand ..
    I Have been left homeless ..beggen for money for meds.. no do not get tbem all the time.. been w/ o
    for 30+ days now .. Yes I have Field for state help.. i get $105.00 im food stamps No Medical No cash
    assist.. how can a person get things handed to them when i feel STAY OFF THE CHIP..and others suffers..

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Kim,

      It is good that you got a lawyer to help with your first appeal. Some drug companies will provide free essential medications for limited periods of time. The doctor who prescribed the medications may have the contact information for the pharmaceutical company or companies that makes your medications. If not, the doctor will at least have the names of the companies. You can use a library computer to search for “free medication” and the name of the drug company.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  41. Chris Davis says:

    hello i applied for disability back in august 2011 and now its 2014 and still going, and i have been denied twice i even spoke with ALJ and he denied me saying im not disabled enough but i got all my medical evidence and proof for why im disabled with my doctor and i take medicine for my schizoaffective disorder symptoms so i appealed and got a lawyer for my disabilty schizoaffective disorder and i suffer from that i even been to two mental hospitals twice for my mental sickness….i just want to know if i will be approved after this first appeal process and how long do i have to wait to recieve a answer or my ssi

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Chris,

      It sounds as if you filed a new claim after the hearing denial. Given that you were denied previously, it is good that you got an attorney to assist you. I cannot predict whether you will be approved or denied. Typically reconsideration appeal decisions take from two to five months to process.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  42. christy says:

    ALJ denied me, going to appeals.How can they reject me after four neck surgeries with rods plates screws fusions and limited arm strength and use and especially when my states retirement system approved me for a non work related disability and I am fully retired? 30 years in system 50 years old and yeah, I have a lawyer. anyone who says they can do this with out a lawyer/advocate of some type is insane.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Christy,

      Your state’s retirement system may have a different definition of disability than Social Security, so approval for one benefit does not necessarily mean approval for the other. That said, sometimes individuals are denied because not all the information reaches the examiner or is not presented in a way that makes it clear that you qualify. Your attorney should be able to help with that on appeal. Also, the criteria used to determine whether you are disabled changes when you turn fifty. If you turned fifty after the denial, your being in a new age category could be beneficial to your appeal.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  43. Sue says:

    Hi Kay I went in front of alj in March 2014got mypartially favorable decision meaning the alj said my onset disability is Jan2014. Now i find out that the appeals council picked my case for review…what can i expect?? Whats the timeframe? I do have a lawyer and they said that the appeals can reverse the judges approval. Does this happen alot? Ive been a nervous wreck. Any insight would be appreciated. Thxs Kay

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Sue,

      The review by the Appeals Council is a quality assurance process. The judge’s decision will be overturned only if the judge’s decision was not reasonable. You should know within a couple months.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  44. TAMEKA says:

    KAY,I WAS INITALLY DENIED FOR SS&SSI BENEFITS.THE JUDGE HAS ORDERED ME TO GO TO TWO SEPERATE HEARINGS WITH ALJ.ITS BEEN 120 DAYS SINCE LAST HEARING.HOW MUCH LONGER DO U THINK I WILL B WAITING FOR A DECISION?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Tameka,

      I am not familiar a judge ordering “two separate hearings.” Did you mean to write something else?

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  45. Jenny says:

    Hello, I originally filed for SSI in feb. 2012 and have had to fill out 2 diff. apps and was denied 2 times on each and after waiting 8 months, i finally got a hearing date and 5 weeks later, was issued a unfavorable decision. the voc. advocate nor the judge had any questions after hearing. my lawyer said that had never happened to her b4. she consulted with her firm and was told, we’d file a brief and appeal. the judge had things in my decision letter that was not about me and things about me that wasn’t included in the decision both. so my lawyer filed the brief n appeal and pointed out the wrongs. I have not been able to work since early 2006. even the SS doctor gave me a good review on my behalf stating i could not do the work. and she also stated that she diagnoised me with ostioarthritis in my lower back and right knee due to a injury in 82. i also have issues with the left side of my back and diagnoised with tissue in my joints deteriorating, i have hyper thyroidism which was stated and duenditis, and had to have emergency gallbladder surgery in late sept. in which i had suffered for over 1o yrs and no doc or hospital would remove it b4 they did due to the fact, i had no insurance. i have been thru hell. this is so dissapointing. the judge i had only has a 44 percent approval rating and could care less the pain i go through daily and if this appeal don’t get overturned, i honestly don’t know what i’ll do. my dad just turned 76 a couple weeks ago and i been living with him cause i can’t afford to live on my own and i go to the health dept. for a doctor and some of my meds are not covered on the 4.00 and 10.00 list n my dad has to pay for them. do you know how long it will be b4 i receive a decision on my hearing appeal? i live in east tn.
    thank you, Jenny

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Jenny,

      It can take a couple months or up to a couple years to get an Appeals Council decision.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  46. kiki schortgen says:

    Hello,
    my alj hearing was on 4/10/14 it went well the ve said i was unemployable, and the judge agreed i was disabled…my ssd was filed 2010… i had income 2012 i sold 3 vehicles the judge held my case open and requested my tax return i explaned the income prior to the hearing ..i was over the sga for 2012 is it likely my case will be denied?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Kiki,

      From what you wrote, your sale of vehicles was done in the course of working and the work occurred more than twelve months after you became disabled in 2010. If that is the correct and the judge finds that you were disabled in 2010, then the months in which you worked may count as part or all of the nine-month trial work period, during which benefits are payable. If you performed substantial gainful activity for more than nine months, but not after 2012, then you could have a couple of months in which benefits would not be payable, but ongoing benefits should be payable.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  47. Jerry says:

    Hello,

    I just received my denial from the appeals council to review my case and my lawyer doesn’t see it as feasible to take any further and I agree. She did say however that I can refile a new claim using the date after the ALJ denial which made me happy because my last claim was denied based on a complaint filed by someone and the resulting investigation. All of this occurred prior to the date of the ALJ decision so she said it is out of play and just everything from that new date applies.

    My question is, can the previous denial be seen (meaning will the new case at least show a denial and possibly the reasons? Or is it all treated as brand new with nothing at all from the previous claim.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Jerry,

      Apologies for the delay in responding. You have to submit everything you want considered for your new claim. Your prior claim file will not be reviewed.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  48. Beyond Frustrated says:

    I applied for SSDI in Dec. 2012 and I have a lawyer and i have had a hearing in Dec 2013 I still haven’t heard anything and I have submitted additional medical records due to a recent surgery that I just had and currently battling MS…My lawyer never returns my messages what can I do to find out the status of my case. About to lose my house due to lack of income in 2 1/2 years. Need an answer?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Beyond Frustrated,

      You can call the hearing office to get a status report. They can tell you whether a decision has been made and the appeal is in the letter writing department or no decision has been make yet. You can also ask for expedited decision based on eminent loss of your home, but it may not speed anything up. In the meantime, communicate with your mortgage holder to let them know that you are close to getting a decision on your claim, which could result in back pay large enough to catch up all the past-due payments. Maybe they will work with you.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  49. Robin C. says:

    Kay: Disability file date Sept. 2011. I was just denied at the Hearing stage. The reasons given by the judge for his decision.

    1- I stated I drink alcohol once or twice every couple of weeks to my doctor and then stated I drink alcohol once in a blue moon at my hearing.
    *There is no question regarding alcohol abuse in my case.

    2- The judge says he does not give much weight to my doctor’s opinion and/or treatment because as he states…My doctor just wrote down what I told him to say! WHAT!!!

    Can my case really be denied on what seems are the judges own personal opinions and not my case history?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Robin,

      Please see my response of a few minutes ago. In reply to your additional question, judges are supposed to make judgments based on facts as they see them.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  50. Paris says:

    hello i had a appointment with the ALJ but i couldnt make it to the appointment due to being in the hospital so the judge denied me from getting ssi benefits so i went and appealed my case and i sent the judge all of the dates that i have been in the hospital how long will i have to wait to get another hearing? and what can i do to get assistance because they stoped my Medicaid im a diabetic and i cant get my suplies anymore who can i call to get help with money i cant work due to my disability and i need to find a disability lawer for help who can i call HELP ME PLEASE !!

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Paris,

      You might contact the Appeals Council and ask for expedited handling because of being hospitalized at the time of the hearing. Also it is the Appeals Council in Virginia to which you should have sent the dates you were in the hospital, not the judge; so if you have not sent them to the Appeals Council, do so now. I suggest that you discuss your situation with an attorney and get representation to help with the next hearing. You can obtain an excellent Social Security attorney by calling Disability Advisor at 1-888-393-1010. You do not have to pay any legal fees up front and you will pay attorney fees only if you are approved for benefits. Social Security law sets the amount your attorney can charge and the Social Security Administration pays the attorney directly from your retroactive award at the time they send your back pay to you. So, it’s all very easy and risk-free.

      Even if you are granted a new hearing, it will take a while. In the meantime, contact the Medicaid office with proof that you appealed your disability denial and show them proof of why you were denied (didn’t attend hearing); perhaps they will reinstate your Medicaid. Also, visit http://www.patientaccessnetwork.com to try to get free medications and diabetic supplies. Click on “free drugs” on that site and also on the links at the bottom of the page that go to other medication assistance organizations.

      Best regards,

      Kay

  51. Monica says:

    I have filed a new claim after being denied at the appeals council so my question is do I put the date that I became disabled meaning after my date of denial? or is it still the same due to I became disabled in Nov 2011. I am so confused or If I put on my new application date I became disabled which was Nov 2011 will they then use my old information again confused.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Monica,

      For your new claim, you have claim a disability date after you were denied. If the Appeals Council declined to review the hearing decision, the date can be the day after the judge’s decision. If the Appeals Council reviewed your appeal and denied, the date has to be after the Appeals Council denial. Your old claim file will not be reviewed for your new claim. Resubmit any of your older medical history that is pertinent to your new claim or it will not be seen.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  52. Michael Lundberg says:

    Hi Kay,
    I have not worked since October of 2010, and filled an ssdi claim in April of 2012. I was denied twice and denied again by ALJ at the hearing. I have MRI’s that show spinal stenosis and bulging disks, and receive shots in the back to help with pain. I also see a psychiatrist for depression and social anxiety. The judge stated he weighed heavily on a psychiatrist that SS sent me too, where she literally asked me 3 questions and I was there for 15 minutes, but doesn’t hold any weight to my psychiatrist that I have seen for 7 months because I haven’t seen him long enough. He also have little weight to my medical doctor of 4 years because she is a PA-C, but I only see her because that’s who they had me see when I made appointments, and she works under a doctor who I have seen too.
    In the summary, the judge never mentioned the 14 medications I take on a daily basis, of which all have side effects that limit me from doing anything. The vocational expert starred I was not able to work, but the judge dismissed that and said I could still drive a truck, but even if my back allowed that, which it doesn’t, my medications would hinder that. There isn’t a day that goes by that I’m not in pain, some days are better than others, but cannot work a job. The judge also pointed out in the summary that I was dressed appropriately and seemed to be coherent. My disabilities don’t limit me on dressing myself our doing minor tasks, but he seems to think I am able to work because I’m not stupid or uneducated our because I can dress myself. I’m kind of worried about the appeals council, because my attorney sounds like he doesn’t want to deal with it because chances are slim that they would reverse the decision, and a sidenote, the judge stated to my attorney when we entered the hearing, ” toy know Mr attorney, that you missed 2 other hearings in this court”, to which my attorney responded “I know your honor, I’m sorry”. The judge then stated, ” don’t think we don’t keep track”. I feel like my attorney is giving up because the judge has it out for him.
    Also, I couldn’t afford to see any dr’s except for the PA-C for the first 3 years, because I didn’t have insurance, but I have insurance now for over a year and all of my doctors have submitted evidence of several disabilities, but because I haven’t seen them for a long time, the judge isn’t holding any weight to them. What to do?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Michael,

      Ask for a copy of what your attorney sent to the Appeals Council. If it does not address all the errors you think the judge made, ask your attorney to send a second statement outlining the other reasons why the decision process was wrong. You might also send your own separate statement to the Appeals Council saying that your attorney has or will be submitting statements in your behalf, but that you are concerned also that the judge’s personal feelings about your attorney may have affected the decision and quote what the judge said.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  53. Michael Lundberg says:

    Thanks Kay,
    If it gets remanded back to the ALJ, will he be told that I think he has a problem with my attorney, and if so, will he holds that against me? Will the AC look at both what the attorney says and what I say, and should I consult the attorney before I submit anything. I asked him if he wanted me to your up arguments for the summary from the judge, and he said “no, I know how to do an appeal”, but seemed disinterested in filling an appeal as he stayed there is only a 22% chance they will demand, and if they do, we will get the same judge.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Michael,

      By all means follow the advice of you attorney and don’t submit anything without his okay because there are specific guidelines as to what can be considered at the Appeals Council level. 22% is more than one in five appeals being remanded, which makes it worth trying.

      Best regards,

      Kay

      • Michael Lundberg says:

        Thanks again Kay…I have started a letter addressed to the appeals council, but will send it to my attorney in case he wants to pull it apart. I’m sure he will call to go over the letter before sending in the appeals request, as I’m sure he doesn’t think like me when it comes to defending my case.

  54. Michael Lundberg says:

    Also have a question regarding time. My attorney said my SSDI expires in Dec 31, 2015. Does this mean I have to be approved before this time, or I lose everything and can’t get disability. This is so frustrating

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Michael,

      I believe that your attorney is saying that you are last insured for Social Security Disability (SSDI) at the end of December 2015. This means that to receive benefits Social Security has to determine that your disability began by December 31, 2015 or earlier. It does not matter when that decision is made.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

      • Michael Lundberg says:

        Thanks Kay,
        I think my attorney stated that after that date, I could only apply for SSI, and no longer receive SSDI. Any thoughts. Just seems weird that I could pay into it for 40 years, only to be denied the benefits because of time. Appreciate what you do for us folks that are confused and frustrated, you are a good person.

        • Kay Derochie says:

          Dear Michael,

          The idea behind Social Security Disability benefits is that the benefits replace lost income. That is the reason for having to be currently insured (recently working) at the time of disability. A person can be denied for not being currently insured and still have the work earnings necessary to draw Social Security Retirement benefits at retirement age.

          Sincerely,

          Kay

  55. Rhonda R. says:

    Ms. Kay,

    I will put this as easily as I can, being as I am confused about my case as well.

    I hired a law firm back in 2008 to file for disability (SSD), I am not sure of the actual date. I have been in front of an AJL Judge three times, all resulting in denials. The last hearing with the AJL judge was 12/2012. That denial of benefits was 03/2013. I hired a new Attorney and they filed an appeal (05/2013), I don’t know if they filed a new case or not, but I received the denial to overturn the Judge’s decision in the middle of June (2014). I waited a few weeks for my Attorney to call with the next step to take, but they did not call, I had to call them a couple times for an answer.

    When I finally heard from my Attorney, they informed me they had just received the notice two weeks ago and were going to set up a conference call to determine if they would take my case any further. That call was scheduled for 07/11/2014, but an hour before the call, an assistant called to reschedule the conference call for Monday 07/14/2014 @1:00 p.m.. No mention of appealing this decision, or if they had already put the appeal in place. So, I fired them that day, because I knew the 60 days for an appeal was really close.

    Well, it turns out the appeal had to be placed before the 15th of July (60 day mark), and it was not. So, obviously by the dates given, there was no time to place an appeal. I went to the closest SS office to me yesterday and spoke with an agent there. They gave me a form to fill out and send in asking for an extension to get an appeal sent through. I filled the form out and sent it over night (they got it today by noon). Well, today an Attorney called me from the firm I fired, and he said “it was good I filed that form, because my appeal time frame was mismarked on his calendar.” Then, he told me to go to Madison, WI and file an appeal on my own, that I still had a couple of days, for a date in Federal Court, and it would cost me 400.00 to do this. He said “once that was done, and I got an extension, they would jump back in on my case and re-file the information with my new medical issues.” I can’t do this, I don’t have 400.00 to file this in court.

    I have also been told that “I am running out of time for “work credits”, because I have not worked since 2008.” I am so confused, because the agent at the SS office said I was not out of work credits because my on-set date had been changed as part of a condition on one of my previous appeals. I don’t know what to do, I don’t understand a lot of this stuff. My Attorney said “the agent did not know what she was talking about, and if my work credits run out of time (he says my last insured date was June of 2012), I will be ineligible forever for SSD, unless I go back to work for a few years and earn some credits.”

    This “going back to work” is not an option for me, even part-time. I have: Cervical Spinal Stenosis, Fibromyalgia (leg’s, arm’s, and joint’s), Diabetes, Neuropathy, Sleep Apnea bordering Narcolepsy, High Blood Pressure, Anxiety, and Depression. I live daily in so much pain most of the time my husband has to dress and shower me.

    I don’t know what to do, which way is the right way, whom to believe, and I am also very angry with my Attorney for dropping the ball on this.

    Is there any advice you could give me on this matter? Please, help me, I am desperate!

    Thank you,
    Rhonda Roos

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Rhonda,

      It is correct that to be approved for Social Security Disability (SSDI) you must be found to be disabled before your work credits run out. It is also true that if you do not appeal and instead file a new claim, you must claim a date after the last denial, which would result in your not being insured on the claimed disability date. This translates into filing an appeal in Federal District Court if you want to keep your SSDI claim alive.

      To be insured you have to have twenty quarters of coverage (work credits) in the ten years before the date your disability began (the disability date accepted by Social Security). If you have not worked since 2008, the last possible date you could be insured would be some point in 2013 and the date could be earlier (June 2012 as your attorney says) if you didn’t have twenty quarters in the five years immediately before you stopped work in 2008.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

      If you have low enough income and assets to be within the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) limits, you could apply for SSI, which does not have an eanrings credit requirement for citizens and some aliens.

  56. Michelle says:

    Ms.Kay,My husband (age 48) had his hearing on April 9th and during the hearing the VE first stated they was 3 jobs he could possibly do then once the VE was questioned by the ALJ and my husbands Attorney the VE then stated that he could possibly do 1 job if the employer would give him special accomodations ! But when my husband received the unfavorable letter from the ALJ on May 10th .The ALJ stated in the letter they where 26,000 jobs out there that he could possibly do and also they where stuff the ALJ said in the letter that was not even mentioned during the hearing, and “vice versa”! My husbands Attorney did not waste any time getting an appeal filed to the Appeals Council. My questions are will the appeals council have a transcript or audio tape of the hearing so they will know what was actually said during the hearing ? Could my husband already be eligable for ssi benefits on what was stated by the VE during the hearing? Also if the Appeals Council decides not to review it will it take them long to get that decision out to us?what would the next step be? Would it be completely done ? And would he be able to file another claim for benefits right a way?We have been fighting this now for over 2 years and we have been faced with foreclosure on our home 2 times during this time and we had to turn to our family for help to keep our home and they are at the point where they can not help any more.We are close to losing everything. We have applied for help through our local social service but to continue getting cash assistance they said he was going to have to praticipate with the program and possibly get a part time job. If he has to try a job how will this affect his case? Any information will be greatly appreciated!

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Michelle,

      You ask several questions. First, the Appeals Council can access the transcript of the hearing if one exists. If they decline to review the decision, you could be notified within a few months or as long as a year or two. Most of the waiting time is for your husband’s claim to get its turn not for the actual review.If the appeal is denied, your husband can file suit in federal district court. His other choice would be to file a new claim in which he claims a disability date after the date that of the judge’s denial. His attorney can provide guidance on which would be the better choice, should the appeal be denied.

      SSI, which is Supplemental Security Income, has the same disability requirements as Social Security Disability (SSDI), so the judge’s denial covers both programs.

      Lastly, If your husband’s ability to work is limited to earning less than $1,070 gross wages per month, his work will probably not be considered substantial and will not interfere with a disability finding. That said, I suggest he confer with his attorney before starting.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  57. Mannie Garcia says:

    Hi Kay.. I received my unfavorable letter today and so disappointed.. I have an attorney I hope we can appeal the decision but I feel like he did not do enough.. in 2 yrs I would only talk to his assistant, for the hearing there was another attorney, so to tell you the truth I had no idea who my attorney was.. in the letter that I got only a few dates o f medical records are showing. I had 3 strokes back to back and at one point had to be walking with a cane or walker and that is not on the letter.. I feel that it was an unfair decision for some of the statements are wrong.. at one point the judge asked how I did my grocery shopping I said I would go with my sister or daughter, statement says I would go shopping with my sister. he asked me what were my hobbies I said I liked to play bingo but hadn’t in a while, well it says I go to bingo to play, I stated that I did my own chores It took me all day but I would do it.. what I don’t understand is that.. the letter says that the claimant has severe impairments osteoarthritis of the bilateral hands, of the bilateral knees polyarthritis and osteopenia and then It say I’m unable to perform work.. the VE also stated I could not work at the hearing.. now I’m so confused of the denial.. it also states that I had an interpreter .. I didn’t need one for as you can see I do very well on my own.. I can go on and on about the letter, there are a lot of statements that are incorrect.. advice please Kay.. so unfair that I want to write to the ALJ..

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Mannie,

      It sounds as if some major errors have been made in the decision, providing grounds for an appeal. The statement about the interpreter is a red flag that the judge has mixed up facts of your case with someone else’s. But before an appeal is filed, I suggest that you ask for an appointment with the attorney to meet face-to-face to find out whether an appeal can be avoided because the letter seems to have an error on the face of the document (says you are denied but also says you can’t work). I don’t know if there is any possibility of pointing out this error to the hearing office and having the judge review the letter for accuracy and possible revision if incorrect, before filing a request for an Appeals Council Review. Is there a typo in the letter?

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Mannie Garcia says:

        Thank you so much Kay.. as a matter a fact I am writing a letter to the ALJ, and also hoping my attorney to call me back.. I have been reading the letter over and over, finding errors.. I really hope something can be done.. thank you so much for advice!!

        • Mannie Garcia says:

          Kay hi, I just realized you asked me a question, if there was a typo in the letter.. what should I look for? I’m sorry not dumb :) I just see a lot of errors..

          • Kay Derochie says:

            Dear Mannie,

            You said that the letter said the you were unable to work. I thought perhaps the word “not” might have been missing in the sentence that referenced your ability to work. Again, be sure to discuss all this with your attorney before taking any action.

            Sincerely,
            Kay

        • Kay Derochie says:

          You are welcome, Mannie.

  58. Sheree says:

    I do not fully understand this process but here’s a little background so maybe you will understand my question; I was denied by the ALJ and the lawyer I have is to decided if it should go to the next step.The problem I have is, in trying to understand the paperwork of the ALJ decision I have noticed that all my disabilities are not listed and that the primary care doctor listed was a doctor I seen one time when my primary care doctor had announced he was retiring. I was trying to decide if I wanted to stay with the current group or what so I seen another doctor as a initial wellness visit. I am so upset and do not know what to do or what my choices are. I have been through this whole process without much communication with the Attorney’s office plus the original Attorney I had left the firm and I was assigned a new one and these people are vicious if I did speak with one of the legal aides it was as if I was bothering them. Is there other options for me? I just feel as though I have not been represented at all. Thats only a couple of mistakes that I found in the first couple of pages and I was so upset that I stopped reading them.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Sheree,

      As you describe the errors in your denial letter it sounds as if you might have a basis for appeal. The other alternative is to file a new application claiming a disability onset date after the date of the hearing denial letter, but if you are no longer insured for benefits you would not be eligible on a new application. Please note that I cannot advise on what action you should take or whether you should change representatives.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  59. Mannie Garcia says:

    Hi kay.. I am so upset right now don’t know what to do.. I called my attorney to discuss my unfavorable letter from disability and like always I discussed events with whom I believe is his assistance.. I asked her to please request audio hearing of the hearing date ..she asked why? I got upset with her and said isn’t it obvious why? I told her that there were a lot of errors in conclusions of AlJ.. Kay what do you think of this statements.. It says, after careful consideration of entire record the undersigned makes the following findings.. The claimant has the following severe impairments osteoarthritis of the bilateral hands, knees, ect, ect.. 20cfr 404.1520 qnd 416.920(C).. then it states that the undersigned finds impairments listed above are severe medically determinable impairments as they cause limitations or restrictions that have more than minimal effect on claimants ability to perform basic work or related activities.. everybody tells me the AlJ contradicted himself on decision.. don’t know what to do!! so disappointed with my attorney.. and I know at this point can not get another one.. thanks for listening to our cases..

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Mannie,

      The decision process for determining eligibility has multiple steps. If the claimant meets the first requirement, then the evaluation goes to the next step until it is determined whether he meets the criteria in all the steps. What you quoted may be saying that you met the one of the criteria and the remainder of the letter may say why you don’t meet all the criteria. I suggest reviewing the full letter carefully to see if the judge says that despite your limitations there are jobs you can do and why he says so. Also, of course, if you still disagree with the judge’s findings, you need to discuss the denial with your attorney to get his advice on whether to appeal or to file a new claim.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  60. johnie says:

    I applied for disability in February 2012. My last working period was June 2011 and was at same job for 2 years. I was held up at gun point as a cashier. I’ve had physical problems with my back since 2008 but continued to work jobs I could. In February 2011 was when I was held up in an armed robbery at work and in June 2011 I could no longer work due to the stress.

    My doctor has me diagnosed with bipolar disorder, severe anxiety disorder, depression, PTSD, insomnia, anti social disorder. My back pain is from a work related injury slip and fall and I have a pinch sciatic nerve. Recently I have been diagnosted with Hip impingement and am currently in physical therapy which is not helping.

    I applied for disability in February 2012 and denied through seeing alj. In december 2013 i had my hearing with ALJ. During the hearing there was a vocational expert. V.E. said I could possibly work 3 job titles. My attorney disqualified 2 immediately and the judge acknowledged this when attorney questioned me working with heavy equipment for one and working heavily with public on the other.

    The last job title I was left with was a dishwasher. Then my attorney asked the V.E. if I were to miss more than 2 work days a month if I would be able to be continually employed in this field. This question was asked because my doctors stated I would need extra rest breaks at work (10-15 min every hour and no more than 6 hour shifts) and I would definitely have to miss 3 or more work days per month. The V.E. stated, “no, this person would not be able to keep this job.” The quotes are because I have the hearing recording.

    ADJ still denied my claim in February 2014. My attorney has sent to appeals council.still waiting.

    My question, because what the V.E. said, should I have been approved? What are the chances of being approved in appeals council? Will the listen to audio of my hearing?

    I’m stressedcto the Max. In a lot of pain everyday even on muscle relaxers, narcotic pain meds, nerve pain blockers, and anti inflammatory pills.

    Sorry so long, any response will be greatly appreciated.

    Regards, johnie

    • johnie says:

      i forgot to mention, i was on ambian in early 2011 for a short period. my doctor took me off when i started mentioning forgetting words of objects and losing time and where i was. since then until present i have very little memory and its getting worse, to the point i will say something and what i thought in my head i would say and what actually came out are two different things. mri has comeback clean.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Johnie,

      The judge could have denied your claim because he or she did not think that the information presented in your claim file and at the hearing supports that you are as limited as you claim. Whether or not the Appeals Council remands (sends back) your claim to the judge will depend on whether the judge has addressed all the evidence and, if so, on whether the decision is reasonable given the evidence. I do not know whether the Appeals Council will listen to the transcript.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  61. Kay Derochie says:

    Dear Blake,

    Unfortunately, I do not have the expertise to advise you on filing in Federal District Court.

    Kay

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