Appealing At The Appeals Council Level

Appealing an ALJ hearing denial decision to the Appeals Council is a very lengthy process. In order to prepare a brief objecting to the ALJ decision denying benefits. I need to review the exhibit file again, in case new exhibits are added and I also need to obtain a copy of the audio CD of the hearing. I often pick up mistakes made by an ALJ, vocational expert or medical expert in playing back the hearing CD. At least half of my appeals involve cases that just came to me, so I have never seen the exhibit file before. I must have an exhibit file and audio CD to prepare my client's appeal.

The first delay is in waiting for the written exhibit folder CD and the audio tape. Often, I wait up to a year and do not get both without several requests.

Once the objections or brief is submitted, there is still a very, very long wait of an additional one to two years. The entire process may take 2-3 years. This is an eternity for individuals waiting for benefits. Our firm refiles new applications whenever possible to try and bring more immediate financial relief while the appeal is pending.