Federal Court Appeals Practice

You have 60 days from the date of the Appeals Council decision to appeal by filing a civil complaint with the U.S. District Court in your area.

Things You Should Know: Federal Court Appeals

  • Check with the U.S. Treasury Offset Program (TOP) to determine if the Government is owed money by a prospective plaintiff for child support, taxes, unemployment, student loans, etc., as some amounts recovered on appeal in Federal Court may be seized by the Government.
  • If a prospective plaintiff does not have the income to pay the court filing fee an in forma pauperis claim may be filed. This will allow a waiver of the filing fee.
  • Service of Process must take place within 120 days after the complaint is filed.
  • Local Rules may vary in different jurisdictions.
  • Violation of procedural due process may warrant failure to exhaust administrative remedies, e.g., where a Notice of Hearing failed to inform a claimant that a favorable second application would be reviewed and overturned. In such a case, by-passing the Appeals Council and filing in Federal Court may be possible.
  • New applications may be possible while the action in Federal Court is pending. This is complex and should be carefully considered.
  • Your Federal Court attorney may ask for fees pursuant to the Equal Access to Justice Act and §406(b)


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