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What do I do in Ohio if the SSA Appeals Council denies my claim?

In this blog, we’ve discussed several of the stages that a claim for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits in Ohio may go through. The administrative process within the Social Security Administration (SSA) has quite a few levels, from the original decision of the state Disability Determination Service, to a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge, to a request to the SSA Appeals Council. But what happens if your claim is denied at all these levels? Is there any hope left at that point?

As with most legal questions, the answer is “maybe.” As the SSA is an arm of the executive branch, all its decisions are considered “administrative.” The U.S. system of government, however, provides for the judicial branch’s review of decisions made by executive agencies. This means that if you believe the SSA has made the wrong decision, you may be able to file a lawsuit in federal court. The suit would be filed in the federal court district in which you live. Ohio is divided into two districts: North and South. Columbus is located on the Southern District. When a case is denied by the SSA’s Appeals Council, there is a notice sent with instructions on how to proceed with the filing of a federal suit. The complaint filed with the federal district court and the summons issued by it should be sent by certified mail to the SSA’s Office of General Counsel.

You should remember that federal courts have very strict time deadlines and form restrictions regarding when and how suits must be filed. The federal courts in Ohio have websites where more information can be found. While the chances of winning a suit in federal court after denial by all the levels of the SSA may not be great, it is certainly possible. Part of the judicial branch’s job is to act as a check on executive power, and most judges take that job very seriously.

If you are disabled and have an inability to work, and are thinking of filing a suit regarding your denied SSDI or SSI claim, you may want to consider consulting an experienced disability attorney.

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