If a disability Judge (referred to as an ALJ) denies your case, you may appeal by filing a Request for Review by Social Security’s Appeals Council (AC). You do not appear before the AC. Your attorney will send a legal argument to the AC which will review the entire record. If the AC finds your appeal has merit, it will order another Hearing be held. It is unusual for the AC to directly award disability benefits.
For fiscal year 2015 the top ten reasons for AC remands were as follows:
1. Treating source – opinion rejected without adequate articulation (14.9%).
2. Inadequate rationale for credibility finding (9.8%).
3. Consultative examiner – inadequate support/rationale for weight given opinion (6.1%).
4. RFC – mental limitations inadequately evaluated (4.6%). RFC stands for residual functional capacity or the most a claimant can do despite his or her limitations or restrictions.
5. New evidence presented upon administrative appeal/review (3.2%).
6. Non-examining source – inadequate support/rationale for weight given opinion (3.1%).
7. Treating source – opinion not identified or discussed (3.0%).
8. Incomplete/inaccurate record – record inadequately developed (3.0%).
9. Mental disorder not adequately considered (2.5%).
10. RFC – exertional limitations inadequately evaluated (2.5%).