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Appealing From An Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) Decision


If an Adminstrative Law Judge (ALJ) turns down your claim,  you can appeal to The Appeals Council. 

The Appeals Council will grant review of an ALJ decision where:

  • There is an error of law
  • There is an abuse of discretion
  • The ALJ's decision is not supported by substantial evidence
  • There is a broad policy or procedural issue that might affect the public interest or
  • There is new and material evidence submitted relevant to the issues before the ALJ (such as a change in your health condition.)

The Appeals council only remands or reverses 5% of the cases that it hears. Still, it's a step that has to be taken in order to appeal to Federal court.

According to Christopher J. Bowes, Executive Director, Center for Disability Advocacy Right: If you're considering filing an appeal:

  • Look for new evidence. If a reasonable person would change the ALJ's decision based on the new evidence, there is a good chance your case will be sent back to the ALJ for review.
  • Ask for a copy of the hearing cassette and exhibits of record.
  • Ask the Appeals Council to permit you to file exceptions within 30 days of receipt of the tape and exhibits. This is the only way to completely consider whether there is substantial evidence to support the ALJ's decision.

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