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The Federal District Court (FDC) is the highest court of law that your disability claim will go to. All arguments made with the FDC are made in writing. You will not attend a trial or meet with an administrative law judge at this level. Matter of fact, the FDC will not decide whether or not you are disabled.
The FDC’s primary responsibility is to decide whether or not the law was properly followed by the administrative law judge that decided your claim. It could take up to 18 months or more to wait for a decision by the FDC and successful arguments to the FDC will result in a new hearing for you. In order to file an appeal to the FDC, your claim must have been unsuccessful at the Appeals Council.
It will generally cost you $350 to file in FDC, however, depending on your current financial state you may qualify for this fee to be waived at the time of filing. You will also not owe your representative more than the current allowable amount as defined by SSA. In 2014, this amount is 25% with a maximum $6,000. However; your representative may petition the courts and ask to be paid fees under the Equal Access to Justice Act, also known as EAJA. These fees, if awarded to your representative, will be paid for by the government and not by you. The amount of EAJA fees will be paid based upon the work put forth by your representative.
Though you may continue treating for your medical conditions, the FDC generally will not review your current medical records. The decisions made by the FDC will be based upon the medical evidence available at the time of your hearing that the administrative law judge based his or her decision on. However, in some cases you may be able to file a subsequent claim while your previous claim is pending with the FDC in which your current treatment records will be beneficial.
As stated previously, filing in Federal District Court requires an error in the law. This court will not decide whether or not you are disabled, therefore, arguments made must reflect a clear unmistakable error that could change the potential outcome of your claim.
If you have additional questions regarding the Federal District Court, please contact our office at 1-877-526-3457. If you would rather be contacted by a member of the Jan Dils staff, fill out this form now so that we can give you a call.
Jan Dils, Attorneys at Law