If a person receives an Unfavorable decision letter after their hearing before the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ), they can appeal their case to the Appeals Council. You are given 60 days to appeal your case and the Appeals Council will decide if the Judge erred and if the decision was made according to the law.
The Appeals Council can agree with the Judge’s decision, remand the case back for another hearing before generally the same Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) or reverse the Judges decision. Unfortunately, the Appeals Council generally agrees and upholds the Judges decision, and sends a letter stating the appeal has been denied, and advises of a 60-day deadline to file an appeal with the Federal District Court. If the Appeals Council remands the decision it means they are sending it back for another hearing before generally the same Administrative Law Judge with instructions of what was done incorrectly. Generally, cases are remanded if the Judge fails to acknowledge severe medical conditions or not giving weight to treating sources opinions.
Less than 1-2 % of cases nationally are reversed by the Appeals Council, which means they overturn the Judges decision approving the case, and agreeing the Judge made a significant error. Fortunately, we just had a case reversed due to the Judge failing to follow the grid rules, and the Appeals Council reversed the denial to a Favorable decision.