A few weeks after your disability hearing, you’ll receive a letter in the mail explaining the administrative law judge’s decision.
In the best case scenario, it’s a fully favorable decision. Social Security processes your backpay, and you’re able to begin collecting your benefits.
But in a small number of cases, that’s not the end of the story. The Social Security Administration has a process for “quality control” where the Appeals Council – made up of the judges above ALJs – randomly reviews favorable decisions. Most of the time, those reviews are uneventful, but every now and then the council takes issue with something an ALJ did and sends the case back for another hearing.
Exactly what triggers a remand depends on the case. The Appeals Council might feel that the evidence in the record did not support the fully favorable decision, and they want the record developed further. Sometimes, questions arise about whether a claimant was working and how much they were making.
Either way, the result is the same. A new hearing must be held, and there’s another delay in receiving disability benefits.
If your case requires a new hearing after you’ve already received a favorable decision, it doesn’t meant that you’ll be denied at the new hearing. Again, it’s merely directing the ALJ to get additional evidence, however, given what’s at stake, it’s very important to consult with an experienced disability attorney about why this new hearing is being held and what evidence must be obtained ahead of time.