If the Appeals Council upholds the Administrative Law Judge’s (ALJ’s) unfavorable decision, your case may warrant an appeal to Federal Court. You would need to file a civil suit in a federal district court. This is the last level of the appeals process. You have 60 days from the date of the Appeals Council decision to file the civil action. Although, Rob Levine and Associates does not handle Federal Court appeals; this information may be helpful to you in understanding this part of the process.
This level of the process differs from the other levels because it is no longer non-adversarial. When you file a lawsuit in Federal Court, you are suing the Social Security Administration for mishandling your claim and the Social Security Administration has attorneys who defend the Administration’s position. How do you move your Social Security case in front of a Federal Judge?
The civil action is filed in the district court of the United States for the judicial district in which you reside or where you have your principal place of business. If you do not reside within any such judicial district or if you do not have your principal place of business within any such judicial district, the civil action must be filed in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. If you bring a civil action seeking judicial review of the Social Security Administration’s (SSA’s) final decision, there is a fee for filing a civil action in Federal court.
Once a civil action is filed, you must send Social Security copies of the complaint and the summons issued by the court. These copies must be sent by certified or registered mail to the Social Security Administration’s Office of the General Counsel that handles the area where the complaint is filed. An appeal to Federal District Court is not a lawsuit about whether you are disabled. It is an action alleging that the ALJ made mistakes in finding that you were not disabled. Usually you are not permitted to submit new medical evidence to the Court because the Court is deciding if the ALJ made errors based on the evidence available at the time of your hearing. Arguments are generally made in writing, and it takes approximately eighteen (18) months to receive a decision.
Rob Levine and Associates concentrates on the administrative process: the initial claim, reconsideration, the administrative law hearing before the administrative law judge, and appeals to the appeals council.