Female judge holding a wooden gavel.

Appeals available after hearing decision denial

Marken Law Group, PS, has helped hundreds obtain Social Security disability benefits. We do not charge a fee unless you obtain the benefits you deserve. What follows below is a basic guide if you have been denied at the administrative hearing level in front of an administrative law judge.

Unfortunately, you waited (years possibly) a long time and were denied after a hearing with the Administrative Law Judge. You received either an “UNFAVORABLE” or “PARTIALLY FAVORABLE DECISION.” As it states in the letter you have options. Unfortunately your options aren’t great.

You do have the right, within 60 days of the DATE of the decision, to appeal to the Appeals Council. If no other evidence, argument/brief explaining reasons for reversal of the judge’s decision, you will likely be denied AGAIN anywhere between 12 and 18 months from your request. Yes, that was not a typo, 12-18 months from when you request the appeals council to review your appeal.

Absent any argument as to why they should reverse the judges decision you will likely be denied. You THEN have 60 days from the DATE of the Appeals Council refusal to review your claim, to APPEAL to the Federal District Court of the United States in the jurisdiction you call home. If you had your hearing in Portland, OR but live in Vancouver, WA, you will actually file your appeal in the Western District of Washington, if denied at the Appeals Council level.

Federal Court complaints, summons, briefs and procedure are very tricky and complicated. It would be advisable to seek an experienced Federal Court Social Security Disability Attorney in your jurisdiction to help. If you need help finding an attorney to help at the Federal Court level, the National Organization of Social Security Claimants Representatives, or NOSSCR, has a referral service that can help. The link is included here at:


As you only have 60 days to file the Federal Court complaint, and the number of attorneys who practice this specialized practice are few, it is important to begin your process of finding an attorney as soon as possible. The Federal Court process takes between 9 months and 2 years, depending on when the judge decides to rule on the submitted briefs.

In other words, it could be YEARS from when you submit your appeal to the council, they deny, you file a Federal Court complaint and a judge rules either way. IF the Federal Court judge finds the administrative law judge made errors, it will likely be REMANDED to the ORIGINAL judge for an additional hearing.

Important to know, when the Appeals Council DENIES your request for review, you can FILE A NEW CLAIM for Social Security Disability benefits AND file a Federal Court complaint. The appeals council denial is, essentially, the end of the line as-far-as the Social Security Administration is concerned. It might be wise to appeal to Federal Court and begin a NEW application.

Marken Law Group, PS, has helped hundreds obtain benefits through the Social Security Administration. We do not charge a fee unless you obtain the benefits you deserve. Call today for a free consultation!