Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Despite the staggering odds against winning at the Appeals Council Level, O'Neil Associates prevailed for their client!

In February 2014, O'Neil Associates Attorney, Robin O'Neil-Manning received a Favorable Decision from the Appeal's Council for their client fighting the Social Security Administration for her benefits since 2010.

The Appeal's Council only approves approximately 3% of the cases that are brought before them!

If your Social Security claim is denied by an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ), the next step is filing an Appeal's Council Request for Review.   

As an attorney we appeal to the Council to review the ALJ's decision.  The Appeals Council can deny the claim, remand it back to the ALJ for another hearing or approve the claim outright. The Appeal's Council remands cases back to the judge for another hearing approximately 23% of the time.

The most disappointing statistic is that the Appeals Council denies approximately 73% of claims they review.  It can take 2 years to get a decision from them and if it is denied, it is a blow to the claimant who has been waiting for 2 years, in some circumstances without income.

New regulations disallow claimants to file a new application while an Appeals Council Review is pending.

Many Social Security Attorneys will not file Appeals to the Council because of the length of time and the statistical data supporting unfavorable outcomes.  Even if an Attorney feels a client's claim is very strong and worth the appeal process time, it is a huge gamble for both she and her client.   In most cases, if you choose to refile a new application vs. appealing, the claimant will lose the retroactive benefits up to the date of the ALJ's decision

So if you ask me, what are my chances of getting my benefits approved at the Appeals Council level? 

As previously stated, according to the Social Security Administration reports, on average you have a 3% chance of winning!  

You can improve your chances greatly however, if  you hire a skilled attorney who knows the law and has a proven record of winning their claimant's claims at the Appeal's Council level.
If you can't work full time and feel you need Disability Benefits such as SSI or SSDI  because of  a mental health illness or physical disability which impairs your ability to work full time, call our firm.  

We are the Massachusetts best disability lawyers and advocates!

We fight for the cause not the applause!

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