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 2017 the top ten reasons for AC remands were as follows:

#1.  Treating source opinion rejected without adequate articulation -16.9%.

#2.  Inadequate rationale for symptom evaluation finding – 10.4%.

#3.  Consultative examiner – inadequate support/rationale for weight given opinion – 7.4%.

#4.  RFC* – mental limitations inadequately evaluated – 4.4%.

#5.  Non-examining source – inadequate support/rationale for weight given opinion – 3.8%.

#6.  Incomplete/inaccurate record; record inadequately developed – 3.8%.

#7.  New evidence presented to Agency – 2.5%.

#8. Treating source opinion not identified or discussed – 2.4%.

#9.  Non-examining source opinion accepted without adequate articulation – 2.3%.

#10. Mental Disorder Not Adequately Considered – 2.3%.

See https://www.ssa.gov/appeals/DataSets/AC08_Top_10_CR.html

* RFC refers to Residual Functional Capacity, or the most a claimant can do despite his or her limitations.