New and Material Evidence at the Appeals Council
After receiving an Unfavorable Decision from an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ), a Claimant who disagrees with the decision of the ALJ may appeal the decision to the Appeals Council of the Social Security Administration within 60 days. The Appeals Council will evaluate a decision of an ALJ for any abuse of discretion by the ALJ, error of law, if the issue affects the general public interest, or if the ALJ's actions, findings, and conclusions were not supported by substantial evidence.
Under Social Security Regulations 20 CFR 416.1470, new evidence may also be submitted to the Appeals Council. For the new evidence to be considered by the Appeals Council, the evidence must be (1) new, (2) material, and (3) related to the period on or before the date of the ALJ's hearing decision. If the additional evidence meets these criteria, the Appeals Council will evaluate the entire record, including the additional evidence, to see if the ALJ's actions, findings, or conclusions were contrary to the weight of the evidence of record.
For evidence to be considered new, material, and related to the period on or before the date of the ALJ decision, the evidence:
(1) Must not be part of the claim record as of the date of the ALJ decision;
(2) Must be relevant, i.e. involve the issues decided by the ALJ; and
(3) Must be dated before or on the date of the ALJ decision or postdate the ALJ decision but be reasonably related to the time period decided by the ALJ
A Claimant should keep records and inform his or her attorney of all doctor appointments or hospital visits during the period after the hearing with the ALJ but before the date of the ALJ's decision. These new records could provide valuable evidence during an Appeals Council review even though a hearing decision has already been made by an ALJ.
If you have received an Unfavorable Decision from an Administrative Law Judge in your Social Security Disability claim and wish to appeal your claim to the Appeals Council, contact an experienced Social Security disability attorney at Gardberg & Kemmerly, P.C. today at 251-343-1111 for a free case evaluation. Gardberg & Kemmerly, P.C. represents Social Security disability claimants in Alabama, Mississippi, Florida, and Louisiana at all levels of the disability process from initial application to appeals to Federal Court.