Federal Court Appeals

If your Social Security Disability benefits claim has been denied through all of the available levels of appeals within the Social Security Administration, you can appeal your claim to a Federal District Court. 

The Appeals Council is the final level of review within the Social Security Administration.  After you are denied by an administrative law judge, also known as an ALJ, you must appeal to the Appeals Council before you can go to federal court.  After you have been denied by the Appeals Council, your next level of appeal is to the federal district court.  The denial notice you received has the title of, “NOTICE OF APPEALS COUNCIL ACTION”.  Click here to see a sample copy.  Once the Appeals Council denies your claim, that is, they affirm the decision of the social security administrative law judge that you are not disabled, you then have sixty (60) days to appeal your claim to federal court.  Do not miss this deadline because if you do, you will lose years of back due benefits, even if you file a new application.

Should I have my case evaluated for Appeal to Federal Court?


If your case has been denied in the past sixty (60) days, contact us for a free evaluation.  If we take your case to court, you have a good chance of winning according to Social Security’s published statistics on appeals.

Consider that in year 2019, there were 144,193 appeals of administrative law judge denials to the Appeals Council.  Of those 144,193 cases, the Appeals Council only granted 14% of those cases a re-review of the judge’s decision. That’s a very low number of cases that were successful on appeal. Now let’s compare that to the federal courts. 

The federal courts review all ALJ denials if claimants appeal timely in court.  In year 2019, there were 17,192 appeals filed in federal district court.  Over 57% of those appeals were decided in favor of the claimant!. That’s an incredibly high number of favorable outcomes for claimants, and strongly suggests that you should have your case reviewed for federal court appeal by an experienced federal court social security disability attorney.  Pierre Pierre law, P.C., and its staff collectively have fifty years of experience handling disability appeals before the SSA, and over twenty years of disability appeals in the federal district courts.  Call us now at (646) 992-8383 for a case evaluation or click here to fill out our webform.   

Click the button below or call us at (646) 992-8383 for a FREE Case Evaluation. Hablamos Español.

FREE Case Evaluation

Have You Been Denied Social Security Disability Benefits?

If your application for disability benefits or SSI has been denied at any stage of the process, Call us for an immediate evaluation or fill out a short questionnaire for a free case evaluation.  You only have sixty (60) days to appeal your denial and should not wait!  Appeal now to protect your rights or call us (or should this say contact us for webform link?) for help before it is too late. 

If you have filed your claim and are pending a decision, we can still assist.  The government’s own statistics prove that having representation early in the disability process increases the likelihood of success.  Don’t wait to be denied, call now to discuss your case and representation. 

Have You Already Seen A Judge And Been Denied By The Appeals Council?

If you filed your disability application and have been denied at all previous stages of the Social Security Disability appeal process, that means you filed your application and received an initial denial, were denied after seeing a judge, you appealed that denial and were denied within the past sixty (60) days by the Appeals Council.  Usually the denial has the title, “NOTICE OF APPEALS COUNCIL ACTION”.  Click here to see a sample copy.

Your NOTICE OF APPEALS COUNCIL ACTION states that you have SIXTY (60) days to file an appeal in civil court for review of the Administrative Law Judge’s decision.  You must file a complaint in the United States District Court for the judicial district in which you live.  CONTACT US ASAP TO EVALUATE YOUR CLAIM!

We specialize in Social Security Disability and SSI appeals at all levels of the adjudication process, including federal court, where you must file a civil action to appeal your most recent denial of benefits by the Appeals Council. 

What Do I Need To Have My Alj Denial Evaluated For Appeal?

In order to evaluate your claim for appeal to federal court, we must obtain for review:

  • A copy of the administrative law judge’s denial that you received after seeing the judge,
  • A copy of your social security file,
  • A copy of the Notice of Appeals Council Action denying your claim. The Notice must be dated within the past sixty (60) days to allow for a timely appeal.

How Can I Obtain A Copy Of My Social Security File And Alj Decision?

If you were represented at your hearing before an ALJ, your representative has a copy of your social security file and the judge’s decision and must provide them to you upon request.  Call us and we can assist you in obtaining a copy of your file from that previous representative.  We can sometimes have your representative send us your file via the internet for a faster case evaluation.

If you were not represented at your hearing and do not already have a copy of your social security file, you can obtain a copy from the office where you appeared before the ALJ for a hearing. 

If you have a copy of your social security file and the administrative law judge’s decision denying your claim for benefits, we can review your claim right now.  Call us at (646) 992-8383 or click here to have your claim evaluated.

Do I Need A Lawyer In Federal Court?

Within 60 days of receiving the Notice of Appeals Action denying your disability claim, you must file your appeal in civil court in the judicial district in which you live.  You may file your appeal on your own and go through the appeals process without a lawyer.  However, we strongly advise against representing yourself in federal court.  It is a complicated and confusing process and you are already disabled.  We recommend you hire a lawyer and make sure that lawyer specializes in disability appeals in federal court.  Pierre Pierre Law, P.C. has many years of experience successfully representing claimants in federal district courts throughout the country.  Call us to discuss competent representation.

There is an old saying that should help you decide whether to hire an attorney to assist you or whether to represent yourself in court.  The saying goes as follows:  “A lawyer who represents himself has a fool for a client.”  It basically means that representing yourself in court usually doesn’t end well.  While everyone is entitled to pursue appeals in the courts without an attorney, we at Pierre Pierre Law, P.C. recommend all claimants hire competent representation in the courts.  We have been suing and fighting the Social Security Administration in the federal courts for over twenty years with positive results.    

What If My Sixty Days To Appeal In Federal Court Is Almost Expired?

If your time to file in federal court is about to expire, CALL US NOW!  The key is to make sure your case is filed timely!  Every federal court has a clerk’s office.  In the clerk’s office there is a window for claimants who want to appeal their disability claim without a lawyer.  This is known as the pro se window, or pro se clerk.  Pro se is pronounced “pro –say.” The pro se clerk will provide you with the required forms and instructions to file the appeal of your disability claim but will not provide you with legal advice.  However, you can successfully get your claim filed without an attorney. 

The Federal District Court Process

Filing the Appeal & Litigation

To begin the appeal process in federal court, a formal complaint is filed in the district court that details why we are suing the Social Security Administration for denying your claim for Social Security Disability benefits. The government’s lawyer will respond with an Answer denying most of the allegations that your claim was wrongfully denied.

Later in the process, our lawyers will present arguments to the federal judge that demonstrate the legal error(s) committed by the ALJ who denied your claim for disability benefits.  The government’s lawyers will argue that the ALJ’s decision is supported by the law and that you are not disabled.  These arguments are usually in writing and sometimes orally before the federal judge. 

You will not be required to provide testimony at the federal court stage or make any court appearances.  You also do not need to provide additional evidence because the court will not allow any new evidence at this level of appeal.  The federal judge will evaluate the ALJ’s decision that denied your claim and determine whether it is supported by the evidence already contained in the record.  The judge will not decide whether the ALJ should have found you disabled, but instead whether the ALJ correctly applied the law in determining that you are not disabled. 

The Federal Court Judge’s Decision

The federal court judge will issue a decision that will either:

  • Send your case back to the Social Security Administration and Order the agency to give you a re-hearing on your claim for disability benefits. This is called a “remand” and is considered a successful outcome in federal court. In 2019, the federal courts remanded over 57% of the cases filed by disability claimants. That means that if Pierre Pierre Law, P.C. agrees to take your case, you have a good chance of success in federal court.  However, remember that this does not mean you will definitely win your case,  but a 57% rate of remand in the courts is significant.  Contact us now for an evaluation
  • The federal court judge can also reverse the ALJ’s decision for calculation of benefits. This means that the federal court will decide that you are disabled and that there is no need for further hearings or proceedings and Order the Social Security Administration to pay you disability benefits.  This occurs in a small percentage of cases and is an outcome we will request when we argue your case.  It is the most favorable outcome for you on appeal.
  • The court can also decide that the ALJ’s decision finding you not disabled is legally correct. This is a loss for you. You will have sixty (60) days to to appeal this court decision to the next level of appeal known as the Circuit court appeal.  

What happens if my case is Remanded or sent back to Social Security for a re-hearing?

If the federal court sends your case back to the Social Security Administration for a re-hearing, our office will continue to represent you at that hearing.  Upon receiving the federal court judge’s decision that remands your case, we will immediately begin working on developing your case again for rehearing.  We will advise you of the period of disability under review at your re-hearing and work together with you to gather additional evidence to prove your case at the re-hearing.

Can I re-apply for Social Security Disability or SSI benefits?

Whether you can re-apply for benefits depends on a variety of factors.  For example, if you originally applied for SSI and were determined to meet the financial requirements, you should be able to reapply for SSI.  Additionally, even if you never applied for SSI in the past, but you meet certain financial criteria, you will be able to file an application for SSI.  Call us here for an evaluation of whether you can reapply for SSI or click here to fill out our evaluation form.

Whether you can apply for Social Security Disability depends on your insured status which is a complicated issue.  Call us to file a new Social Security Disability application or click here to fill out our evaluation form.