Process after denied @ALJ hearing
My attorney has filed an appeal after I was denied at my ALJ hearing. He is difficult to talk with, but he said something about it probably taking another one to two years. It sounded like he said my case would go before the same judge that denied me, and I think he even said he felt the same judge would deny it two or three more times. He said the judge has a reputation for being one of the worst judges who denies 50%.Then after all the denials again, I believe he said another judge would then hear my case. God only knows what the next judge would decide.
I found something on line where another attorney said the plaintiff wouldn't have to show up for hearings during the appeal process. Has anyone else on here appealed a denial after the ALJ hearing, and did you have to go to the hearings? Does the same ALJ judge review the case more than one more time, that doesn't make any sense? I could see one time, but not a bunch more with the same one. I know you must wonder why I don't contact my attorney & ask him, but he scares me!! I don't want to take the risk of being dropped by another attorney, I can't cope with that, my case is desperate enough as it is. It was difficult finding an attorney as it was, especially after I was so rudely dropped just two weeks before my ALJ hearing from my last attorney. Most attorneys don't want my case, and it gets frustrating explaining EVERYTHING over and over and over to try to get one to help me. I was surprised the one I currently have didn't drop me after the denial to tell you the truth. I don't want to push my bad luck.
Here's what I found on line.....
The Appeals Council
If your case is denied at the ALJ level, you may appeal to an Appeals Council, which will decide, not if you are disabled or not, but rather, if the ALJ hearing was conducted appropriately and the evidence examined correctly. If not, they will return it for another ALJ hearing.
At this level an advocate is practically a requirement, and, because there is only one Appeals Council, it may take one, two, or more years for it to review your case. You do not appear before the Council; it reviews your file and the transcript of the ALJ hearing in order to make a decision.
Suit in Federal Court
Your final level of appeal is to file suit in federal court against Social Security for your benefits. Clearly, this requires an attorney and years before a decision is finally made. Instead of going to this level, many claimants will abandon their old claim and file a new one, although approval of the new claim will result in loss of all the past benefits under the old claim.