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What happens if you don’t receive a copy of an unfavorable decision from the Administrative Law Judge who denied your Social Security Disability (“SSD”) application, and therefore, you don’t appeal on time? What happens if the Appeals Council then refuses to hear your appeal because it’s not filed on time? That sounds unfair, and it is. I took over a case from another attorney who was faced with that very situation.
After the Appeals Council rejects a request for review, the claimant’s final resort is going to federal court. Under the circumstances described above, the only relief that a federal court can provide is a remand for a hearing before the Social Security Administration (the “SSA”) regarding whether the claimant had good cause for requesting review belatedly.
It would have taken months if not years for the SSA to file its administrative record, have the parties brief the matter, and the wait for the district court to issue its decision. To avoid the wait, I supplied an affidavit from the claimant’s prior attorney detailing his normal business practices and the circumstances that led to the late filing. The U.S. Attorney provided the affidavit, and case law directly on point in the claimant’s favor, to counsel for the SSA. The result was that the SSA voluntarily agreed to remand the case without having to litigate the matter.
When litigating SSD claims, it pays to research the case thoroughly before filing. Even if you do not wind up briefing the case, the research can provide the basis for a discussion with the U.S. Attorney who might be persuaded to voluntarily remand the action.
Posted by The Law Offices of Jeffrey Delott at 10:21 AM
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