The National Social Security Appeals Council is the final stage in the administrative decision process. This agency is located in Virginia. It was created as a three-member body to oversee the hearings and appeals process to ensure consistency and justice in the decision-making process.

What Happens If the Appeals Council Grants My Request for Review?

If the Appeals Council grants a request for review, it will either settle the case or return it to an Administrative Law Judge for a new decision.

What Are Some Examples of Administrative Law Cases?

Many of us come into contact with administrative law adjudication in three common areas. If you must appear in an administrative court, remember that they follow different procedures and rules than the civil and criminal courts:

  1. Regulatory cases: This area involves challenging a rule or policy created by the agency. Business owners and interested public members may have a dispute with a regulation created by a governmental agency. An interested person can file a complaint with the agency and appeal the regulation when that happens. An example is the Environmental Protection Agency created a new rule that conflicts with your business.
  2. Entitlement cases: Public benefits such as disability benefits or worker’s compensation are governed by administrative law. If your benefits have been denied, you can appeal to the appropriate administrative court to review your case to determine whether the denial was justified.
  3. Enforcement cases: When an individual or entity has violated an agency’s regulation, the agency can bring a claim against them in an administrative court. A typical example of this is the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service, which brings deportation proceedings against individuals accused of illegal immigration. A person accused of illegal immigration faces the severe consequence of deportation if the administrative court finds in favor of the agency.

Can I Appeal an Administrative Decision?

Many agencies have an appeal process within the agency. In some infrequent cases, an appeal can be made to the U.S. Court of Appeals, depending on the nature of the case.

What Do I Need to Know About Requesting a Hearing Before an Administrative Law Judge?

You have the privilege to appeal any decision Social Security makes on your case about whether you are entitled to Social Security benefits or are eligible for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments. If the council determines that you no longer meet the Social Security or SSI requirements or find that you received overpayments, you have the right to appeal that decision.

You should be aware that the hearing process may be lengthy, so it is critical to keep the council informed of any changes in your contact information, such as your address or telephone number, throughout the hearings process. Consistent communication with the hearing office handling your case will ensure they can process your request for a hearing as fast as possible.

Once the hearing office receives your hearing request, staff will review it and contact you if there are any questions. They might request further details or documents from you before scheduling your hearing. For instance, during the COVID-19 pandemic, they will send you details and a form about the option of appearing at a hearing by telephone or online video. Finishing and returning the form to them as soon as possible and telling them whether you agree to appear by telephone or online video allows them to schedule your hearing sooner.

If you schedule a hearing, you must attend the hearing. If you cannot attend, be sure to contact the hearing office as soon as possible before the hearing and tell them why.

If you want to change the time or place of your hearing, you must ask for this change before the earlier of two dates. The first date is 30 days after you receive your notice of hearing. The second date is five days before the date of your hearing. If you miss the deadline for requesting a change, the Administrative Law Judge will decide whether you have a good reason for missing the deadline.

You can reschedule the hearing if you have provided a good reason. Please remember that if you do not go to a scheduled hearing and the Administrative Law Judge determines that you do not have a good reason for attending, your request for a hearing may be dismissed.

When individuals have little English proficiency, they will arrange for a qualified interpreter. They can provide an interpreter for you if needed, and it is always good to let the office know in advance if you need an interpreter. If you need accommodation before your hearing, don’t hesitate to contact the hearing office handling your case at the telephone number located at the top of your hearing notice.

It is presumed that people with disabilities are capable of conducting business with SSA without an accommodation unless they request an accommodation. If you need accommodation before your hearing, don’t hesitate to contact the hearing office handling your case at the telephone number located at the top of your hearing notice.

If you are the parent or guardian of a child requesting a hearing, it may be requested that the child attend the hearing. Information about whether a child needs to participate in a hearing in the notice of hearing will be sent to you.

Can I Waive My Right to Appear at My Hearing?

If you do not wish to appear before an Administrative Law Judge at an oral hearing, you have to let it be known in writing that you would like to waive your right to appear at the hearing.

Is There a Time Limit on Filing for Review?

Generally, the appellant has 60 days after receiving a notice of the decision to file for an appeal. If they do not file a timely appeal, their request for review will likely be denied. If an appellant files an appeal after the deadline, they must demonstrate why they filed late and request that the Appeals Council extend the time limit.

What Do I Do If I Disagree With the Appeals Council’s Decision?

If the appellant disagrees with the Appeals Council’s decision, their last option may be to file a civil suit against the Commissioner. This is considered the last level of the appeals process but is an entirely new undertaking with new potential consequences and costs.

What Happens When I Bring a Civil Action Against the Commissioner?

When someone brings a civil action against the Commissioner, they are seeking judicial review of the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) final decision. This requires the Office of Appellate Operations staff to prepare a record of the claim to be filed with the Court. Such a record will include all the records and evidence SSA depended upon in deciding.

Do I Need a Lawyer’s Help?

The laws that regulate social security are very complex and confusing and only become more difficult and complex the further into the process you go. A social security attorney can help you understand which social security benefits you should be receiving and help you if you need to appeal a denial of social security benefits or even file a lawsuit.