Social Security Disability Federal Court Appeals

When you have exhausted your administrative efforts to obtain Social Security disability benefits, the next—and usually final—step is to file a lawsuit in federal district court. If you’ve reached this point, you will already have:

  • Filed an application for Social Security disability and been denied
  • Filed a Request for Reconsideration and been denied
  • Participated in an ALJ hearing and received a negative determination
  • Requested Appeals Council review and either been denied or received a negative determination

If you’ve been pushing through this process alone, you may be feeling discouraged and be daunted by the federal court process, but this is not the time to give up. About 30% of Social Security disability cases that reach the federal courts ultimately result in an award of benefits.

Deadlines for Filing a Federal District Court Appeal in a Social Security Disability Case

Time is limited. When you receive a denial or negative determination from the Appeals Council, you have just 60 days to file your case in federal district court. 60 days may have seemed like ample time in the earlier stages, when all that was required was submission of a short form requesting review. However, the federal district court process is quite a bit different.

Federal Court Appeals v. Administrative Process

Up to this point, the Social Security Administration (SSA) itself has managed the application, review and appeal process. While the process may have seemed complicated at times, SSA makes an effort to simplify the process with has provided forms to fill out and informal interactions at most stages. The federal court process differs in a few important ways:

  • You will be required to pay a filing fee to start your case in federal court, although under some circumstances people who truly can’t afford to pay may qualify for a fee waiver
  • There is no form to complete; the applicant/plaintiff is responsible for creating appropriate pleadings in accordance with the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure
  • Those same rules dictate the type of evidence that may be admitted, how it may be admitted, what questions may be asked of witnesses and more

It is beneficial to have a seasoned Social Security disability attorney at your side at every stage of the process, and may enhance your chances of success in the early stages. At the federal district court level, however, the value of knowledgeable guidance increases dramatically. The average person simply is not equipped to comply with the complex technical rules associated with federal court pleadings and proceedings.

Get Help with Your Social Security Disability Appeal Today

No matter where you are in the Social Security disability application and appeals process, we can help. Just schedule a free consultation today to learn how an experienced advocate in your corner can ease the burden on you and enhance your chances of success.