How to Handle a Denial from a Judge


Art: Robin Mead. Page Update: July 2019

If your Social Security disability appeal hearing was not successful, don’t give up hope. We have heard from many readers who were in this situation and eventually did go on to get approved.

Your Options

After a hearing denial, most people have two options: You can request a review by an Appeals Council or you can start a new application.

Which Option Is Best?

This is (obviously) quite an important decision. There are a lot of intricate pieces to consider. It is a good idea to discuss this choice with your lawyer, but there are some factors in your life that only you know, so it may be helpful to learn as much as possible yourself, too. Here is a detailed run down of how each option works: How to Decide Between Appeals Council and New Application

How Can I Improve My Chances at Appeals Council?

How to Improve Your Chances at Appeals Council

How Can I Improve My Chances for a New Application?

How to Improve Your Chances for a New Application

Can I Do Both?

In some very special and rare circumstances there is a third option where are you can start a new application and go to appeals council at the same time. Learn more about secret option three.

Special Circumstances – Expired Work Credits

If you are applying for SSDI and it has been some time since you last worked, your work credits may have expired. This is also called “Date Last Insured.” When this happens, you may want (or need) to keep appealing instead of starting a new application. If you don’t know what this means, don’t worry. It is all explained here: Did Your Work Credits Expire While You Were Applying?

What Do You Think?

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13 thoughts on “How to Handle a Denial from a Judge”

  1. Wow, this article has some really good info! Thank you for sharing! I wish I had read this before. It would of saved me from a lot of unknowns.


  2. Hello all! Just recently was granted a remand from the Appeal’s council, it’s been a very long 4 years of misdiagnosis, psychosomatic medications for these “mental illnesses” etc. After my hearing denial, I was so discouraged. However, in February I got a real diagnosis. ME, POTS and fibromyalgia. Finally someone who knew what he was doing! Now I simply manage my symptoms. I went through a period of mourning, and finally just recently acceptance. Pacing has not been easy for me. The POTS, has me dizzy, faint and nauseous. My heart rate literally varies 40 points from lying down to standing. It so scary wondering if my heart is just going to suddenly stop. The hardest thing is the unpredictability of these flares. My doc and I have figured out when my liver enzymes and my CRP is high I’m in a flare. My skin changes color and I struggle to get up on my feet, and stay up. I’m hoping this diagnosis will get me the approval. I really love my doctor, but the medical bills are getting out of hand.
    Does anyone know if remanded cases are scheduled faster than first time hearings? I want to start some alternative therapy, but I will need the benefits to be approved to afford it.


  3. GabbyBx I applied for SSDI and ssi back in December of 2017 my doctors and their doctors approved me but the social security office denied me the lady who makes the medical decisions in Kentucky could not believe it. Because I am only 50 years old well I have had a hard life I was diagnosed with severe to chronic migraines at the age of 4 been in every hospital eeg’s mri’s ct’s There are 7 different types of migraines and I have had them all lost my vision in and out had mini stokes been hospitalized numerous times for dehydration had the symptoms but not the migraine known as without aura—- it is one of my medical disabilities that have hindered me from doing everyday things-diagnosed with lung disease have an air pocket on my right lung and nodules I have CT scans ever 6 months was in a car accident not to long ago just got clearance for knee surgery because I was told that I have Syncope
    Not only do I go to physical therapy 2 times a week I have my neurologist Pulmulnogist cardiologist my PCP and I see Psychiatrist and psychologist for ptsd severe anxiety and bipolar disorder
    I have worked 27 years of my life and I was denied because of my age. Filled out the appeal went ever 2 weeks to social security office with doctors updated documentation and the social security worker there could not believe it so she gave me a Form I filled out for her to expedite my appeal hearing which was supposed to be December 2019 and it was on January 30, 2019 2 days later online it said my hearing was held ALJ and they started preparing a decision. Appeal under review as February 7, 2019 a medical decision has been made and we are working to process your decision. The ALJ at the hearing said I was all up to date but I still had more paperwork to present. Which I gave to the ALJ stenographer and she made copies to add to my file.
    I just pray every day that my decision will be favorable I can’t do this anymore.


    1. Just to let you know I did this all without a lawyer unless I have to go to a third hearing then I will because they want to much money


  4. Psychgirl (and sleepygirl), I also just got denied and no one can believe it due to all the evidence I have. so many tests done (CPET, QEEQ, Echocardiograms, NeuroQuant MRIs) ALL confirming too disabled to work. the judge actually did that to me too – threw out didn’t even mention any of these tests and listened to the SSA examiners 3 of which i never even met in person and who weren’t even saying correct info about me (i’m wondering if some other person’s info got into my file). it’s blantantly wrong and illegal to have denied me – totatlly dismissing factual, admissable, objective evidence in many many ways stating disability for me. i’m truly blown away – i knew ssa was totally corrupt, but a 3rd party judge too? how are you getting on? i am firing my lawyer as I have serious ptsd around working with him – too long to write. i am going to attempt this on my own as what lawyer would pick up my case where another attorney may have dibs on the %? i’m so blown away by this. truly evil and corrupt through and through.


      1. it’s nothing short of absolute corruption. the judge said he gave great weight to 3 examiners who never even met me and very little weight to experts like Dr. Paul cheney and others who worked with me for 3+ years. i really don’t know what to do from here as it’s clear this is not a just (il)legal system.


    1. May actually something very similar happened to me. Ssa made me fo see two doctors. They didnt give the doctors any information and they didnt even give information on my file to them. I also was never told to take anything. I believe they are doing this on purpose to deny the person. I actually have filed a complaint and had to ask a congressman to help get medical records. They won’t release it either even with the form filled out.


  5. Hello! I’m wondering if you could possibly connect me with other readers of the blog whom were denied at the hearing but successful with the appeals council? Particularly if they were successful without a lawyer?

    I do not have a lawyer (as the one I had said not to appeal it), so I’m curious about how to proceed as my 60 day deadline is coming up soon. I didn’t find out until I got the denial that a large amount of medical records were missing (and when I say a lot I’m talking about 1.5-2 years worth of medical records from specialists I see quite often). One specialist (who did numerous tests and found that I had a tumor) wasn’t mentioned at all. I am young (and applying for child’s benefits based on my parent’s record) and in school, so my case has been somewhat complex.

    The judge “threw out” (i.e., picked and chose whose opinions to listen to) some diagnoses and completely neglected to take my medications, side effects, and other conditions (that were mentioned) into consideration. To top it off, since nearly 2 years of records were missing, some diagnoses weren’t considered because she said they’re “controlled” (for the record, they’re not; I wouldn’t be seeing specialists every 1-3 months if they were!)

    I appreciate any help you can give!


    1. HI psychgirl,

      I’m sorry to say that I really do not know anything in this area. I have not yet heard from anyone who went to the appeals council without a lawyer.

      One possibility would be to try to find a new lawyer. The fact that two years of your medical records were missing is a very valid reason for appeal, so perhaps a lawyer might be interested if you contact several. Some places to look are here:

      I do not know the process for submitting an appeals council request. You might try contacting the odar (judge’s office) and asking if they can direct you to the form that needs to be submitted for this?

      I’m sorry I am not more help here. Very sorry this happened. 🌷


  6. I just found out several days ago the alj denied my ssi, I don’t have his letter yet explaining why so I’m not sure if my lawyer wants to go to the appeals council or file a new claim. If I do file a new claim do I have to start over completely from scratch and go get diagnosed again or can I submit everything I’ve already submitted before supporting this claim plus new paperwork, and what about things like past surgeries can I submit that paperwork showing I had those done? Thanks!


    1. Katelyn, I’m very sorry to hear this. If you start again, you do not need to get a new diagnosis, but it will help to have new medical records. They will consider all records that happened after your hearing. If you wish, you can also submit previous records as background information, but I believe they will make the decision based on your current records.


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