An overview of Federal Court Claims


Federal Court Disability Review


What Happens at a Federal Court Disability Review?

If you filed for Social Security disability and your claim was denied by the SSA Appeals Council and the administrative law judge (ALJ), you can still file another appeal with a Federal District Court. Filing a Federal Court disability review is a civil action representing the last and final action of the SSA appeals process. The judge overseeing a New Mexico Federal Court disability review does not evaluate new evidence for disability case appeals. Instead, the judge re-examines the evidence seen by the ALJ judge to decide if errors were made.

What Can I Do Before Filing a Claim with a Federal District Court?

If your disability claim is denied by an Administrative Law Judge, your next move is to send your claim to the Appeals Council. You have 60 days from the time you receive a letter from the ALJ denying your claim to appeal the decision with the Appeals Council. Instead of evaluating the viability of your disability, the Appeals Council thoroughly examines the opinion of the ALJ and how that judge came to the decision to deny your claim. In some cases, the Appeals Council may find that the ALJ did not utilize all medical documentation properly or adequately enough. This is called a “procedural” or “technical” error and is a good reason for the Appeals Council to remand your claim back to an ALJ. However, the ALJ that will be re-evaluating your claim will not be the same judge who denied your claim.

Receiving a denial from an Appeals Council should not be considered a final decision. Disability applicants can further appeal their claim by filing it in a Federal District Court.

What Happens After the Civil Action Is Filed in a Federal District Court?

Filing a disability civil action precedes the court issuing a summons. The person filing the action must serve a copy of the appeals complaint and the summons to the Social Security Administration. The complaint and summons are sent to the SSA’s Office of the General Council (OGC) in your state. Once the OGC has been served, an SSA attorney will file their answer. In most cases, this answer explains why the Appeals Council and the ALJ were correct when they denied your disability claim.

After the SSA attorney files the brief, you must file a brief explaining why you believe the denial is wrong. Winning your Federal Court disability appeal depends chiefly on the persuasive strength of your brief. This makes it imperative for you to hire an experienced New Mexico Federal Court disability attorney to handle your case.

What Is a Response Brief?

The response brief is the SSA’s reply to your disability attorney’s brief. It will explain why you and your attorney are wrong about the decision handed down by the ALJ. The final back-and-forth between you and the SSA is the “reply brief” filed by your attorney in response to the SSA’s response brief. This is your last chance to reiterate what you think is incorrect about the argument put forth by attorneys for the SSA.

How Long Does It Take for a Federal Court Review Judge to Make a Decision?

Expect to wait about one year before you learn if the Federal Court Judge remands or affirms the decision of the ALJ. If the judge remands your case, it will be sent back to the ALJ for reconsideration. Most SSDI cases that are remanded result in being approved by the ALJ.

If the Federal Court review judge affirms the appeal, this means the judge denied your claim. Don’t take a chance on spending years appealing your disability claim. Call the Decker Law Office today to schedule an appointment with an experienced New Mexico Federal Court disability attorney.