Reasons for Federal Court Remands.  If the Appeals Council (often referred to as the “AC”) denies your request for review, you have the right to appeal the AC decision by filing a civil action in federal court.

You do not appear before the federal court. Your attorney will submit a legal brief on your behalf. The attorney for the Social Security Administration will submit a legal brief on behalf of the government. A United States District Court Judge will review the briefs and render a decision.

If the federal court rules in your favor, it will remand the case back to the Social Security Administration another Hearing before an administrative law judge. It is unusual for the federal court to directly award disability benefits.

The Top 10 Reasons for Federal Court Remands in 2019 were as follows:

#1.  Treating source opinion was rejected without adequate articulation. 15.9%.

#2.  Inadequate rationale provided for symptom evaluation finding. 10.9%.

#3.  RFC – mental limitations inadequately evaluated. 6.8%.

#4.  Consultative examiner – inadequate support/rationale for weight given opinion. 6.7%.

#5.  Non-examining source – inadequate support/rationale for weight given opinion. 3.3%.

#6.  Incomplete/inaccurate record – record inadequately developed. 3.1%.

#7.  RFC – Exertional limitations inadequately evaluated. 3.1%

#8.  RFC – Other. 3.1%

#9.  VE and DOT not reconciled (e.g. sit/stand limitations, time off task, etc.). 2.8%

#10.  Treating source opinion not identified or discussed. 2.6%.

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

If the facts of your case involve one or more of the legal issues cited above, you have a chance for a successful appeal.

For historical data on the Reasons for Federal Court Remands go to

For an article on Top 10 Reasons for Appeals Council Remands in 2019, click here.

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Reasons for Federal Court Remands

Disability Lawyer David R. Paletta