What happens if the Social Security Appeals Council orders a second disability hearing?
Learn why the Social Security Appeals Council may send your disability claim back to the law judge for more investigation and possibly a second hearing.
When Your Appeal Goes Back to the Hearings Level
Sometimes when the Social Security Appeals Council reviews your appeal of a hearing denial, they will decide that some aspect of your case was not fully investigated and will return your claim to the administrative law judge who handled it previously with instructions about what aspect of your claim needs additional investigation. This is called remanding your case. Remand often results in a second hearing.
Reasons Why The Appeals Council Might Return Your Claim to the Judge
The Social Security Appeals Council might notice that some vocational aspect of your claim was not addressed, so it might tell the judge to ask the vocational expert some additional questions or to call an expert witness if one did not testify previously. In another circumstance, the Appeals Council might point out that some questions about your medical condition and limitations were not answered by your medical records or the hearing testimony. In this situation, the Council might request that the judge send your claim back to the Disability Determining Services to set up a consultative examination for you. Once the requested additional information is obtained and a second hearing is held, if needed, the administrative law judge will render a new decision, which will have its own appeal rights. For more information about Social Security Appeals Council reviews, see our article What Is a Social Security Appeals Council Review and What Can I Do If the Appeals Council Denies My Claim?
The Occasional Supplemental Hearing
Infrequently, a judge will ask for additional documentation to be submitted after the first hearing and the documentation received causes the judge to set up a supplemental second hearing to address the new documentation. In this situation, a decision would not be rendered until after the supplemental hearing.