January 18, 2020

I was Denied at my Hearing – Now What?

If you are denied at your hearing you will receive a written document in the mail entitled “Unfavorable Decision.”  The unfavorable decision will consist of about 15 pages, in which the judge explains his rationale for denying your claim.

At this point, you have two options if you want to continue to pursue your claim:

  • you can file an appeal to the Appeals Council – your appeal must be filed within 60 days from the date you receive your decision. Here is a link to Form HA-520 – the form you need to file an appeal to the Appeals Council
  • you can file a new claim and start over – if you start over with a new claim, you will give up the right to claim benefits through the date of the unfavorable decision.  If you are pursuing SSDI benefits, you need to know your date last insured for SSDI – if it ran before the date of your decision and you choose to start a new application, you would not be eligible for SSDI.

Generally, the Appeals Council will only reverse the judge’s decision if the judge applied the law incorrectly, or if the judge clearly did not consider significant evidence.  Unfortunately the percentage of appeals that result in a reversal is very small – the odds are not in your favor.

You should also know that if the Appeals Council reverses the unfavorable decision, your case will be sent back to the same judge who previously denied you for a new hearing.

Many hearing attorneys do not handle Appeals Council actions but we do – if your current attorney does not wish to pursue an appeal, please reach out to us using the form on this page.

Do I Have any Options if the Appeals Council Denies my Appeal?

If the Appeals Council affirms the hearing judge’s decision, you can file an appeal (within 60 days of receiving the Appeals Council denial) to federal district court.  This type of appeal is very specialized work and very, very few claims are reversed by the district court.