So, you lost your Social Security Disability claim. Now what?
Many people choose to attend their Social Security Disability hearing without representation. Some win. Some lose. What are your options if an Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) issues an Unfavorable Decision (“UFD”)?
First off, you should consider your appeal options. You can appeal a UFD to the Appeals Council. You only have sixty days from the date of the UFD to appeal. If you miss the deadline to appeal you must show good cause why your appeal is late. The Appeals Council has the authority to reverse the ALJ’s decision, remand it for a new hearing, or keep it the same. If you do not appeal the UFD, it become final and it is extremely difficult to change the decision later.
You can also decide to file a new claim for benefits. This is usually not recommended because you are essentially giving up all of your past due benefits, which can be a substantial amount of money and insurance. However, sometimes this is the best option for the claimant. Your situation will determine whether you should file a new claim.
If you represented yourself before an ALJ and received a UFD, you should make an appointment to speak with an experienced disability attorney to discuss your options.