The End of the Administrative Process. Claimants who have been denied Social Security Disability benefits at the initial, then the reconsideration level, then at the administrative hearing and finally at the Appeals Council level have competed the administrative process. The decision of the Appeals Council is the last administrative decision. Even though the Appeals Council denial is the final step in the administrative process, it is not the end of the appeals process. The federal court system is the next appeal stage.
Filing in Federal Court. The law permits a person who is dissatisfied with the decision of the Commissioner of Social Security to file for court review. It is a little odd that the law provides that what a person is appealing is actually the decision of the administrative law judge rather than the decision of the Appeals Council. However, Social Security statutes and regulations view the decision of the Administrative Law Judge, except in a few rare instances, as the last word on the case. Continue reading