New Rules for Cases at the Appeals Council

By: Charles D. Hankey

Social Security has recently changed their rules for what can happen after you are denied by a judge. Previously, when a client was denied by a judge, there were three options. It could be appealed to the Appeals Council, you could start a new case, or both. Often, we would advise clients to do both.

However, under the new rules, you can no longer start a new case when you have appealed a case to the Appeals Council. Now we must choose between appealing the denial or having you start a new claim.

This is a difficult choice to make. If your conditions have gotten worse between the time you applied and the time you were denied at your hearing, the judge may have denied you based on medical records from when you first applied, and as your condition gets worse, the Appeals Council won’t consider anything that happened after the hearing. This is where a new case could be helpful, as a new case would look at your worsened condition, instead of at your condition 1-2 years or more ago. However, choosing to forgo the Appeals Council and start a new case would cause you to forever lose any chance at the backpay from when you applied until the judge’s denial, which could be 2-3 years worth of money. In some instances, it could even cause you to not be eligible for SSD at all, due to the length of time that has passed since you last worked.

If you are denied by a judge in the future, be assured that we will take a very careful look at your denial, your condition, your work history, and the new rules and advise you on if we feel it’s best for you to appeal or not. If we choose not to appeal your denial and instead advise you to file a new claim, and you are upset by that or don’t understand why, feel free to contact us and we will help you understand our decision and how this new law impacts you.