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Unfortunately, if an administrative law judge issues a favorable decision in your claim, it does not mean that you are “in the clear.” The appeals council has the authority of issuing a review of any decision within 60 days. Some cases are reviewed after they have been referred to the appeals council, while others are randomly selected.
Once the appeals council has decided to review a claim, both the claimant and the representative will be informed by written letter. This letter is referred to as a “Notice of Review.” The appeals council has several options upon their review. They can affirm the judge’s decision, modify it, remand the claim back to the Office of Adjudication and Review (the hearing office) or reverse the decision completely.
If the appeals council fails to produce a final decision within 110 days of the date written on your judge’s decision notice, you will be eligible for interim benefits. Interim benefits will equal the amount of your monthly benefits, however, you will not receive your past-due benefits at this time. These benefits will continue until a final decision is made. A remand back to the hearing office is not a final decision.
Interim benefits will not be considered overpayments. This means that even if the final decision is rendered unfavorable, you will not have to pay the benefits back to the Social Security Administration. Unfortunately, though your retroactive benefits should not be released during this review process, it can happen by oversight. In the event that you have received a lump sum of retroactive benefits while your claim is being reviewed, you should immediately notify the SSA and your representative. It is also important that you do not spend this money. If the final decision on your claim is unfavorable, these retroactive benefits will be considered an over payment unlike your monthly interim benefits and the SSA will be asking for reimbursement.
If you would like to know what we can do to help you get your Social Security Benefits approved, call us today for a free consultation, 1-877-526-3457. If you would rather be contacted by our office, fill out this form now.
Jan Dils, Attorneys at Law