There are three basic ways to seek relief if there is bias or unfairness in your disability claim.
First and foremost, you can appeal a Judge’s decision to the Appeals Council.
The Appeals Council will review a Judge’s decision if:
- It is not supported by substantial evidence in the record;
- The Judge has abused his discretion;
- There is new and material evidence relating to the period of time up through the Judge’s decision;
- There was an error of law; or
- There is a broad policy or procedural issue that would affect the general public interest.
Secondly, the Division of Quality Review will review a complaint of bias, unfairness, partiality, or misconduct.
Third, claimants who allege discrimination on the basis of race, religion, color, national origin (including English language ability), gender, age, or having previously filed a civil rights complaint, may file a complaint with the agency’s civil rights division.
A claimant may use one or more of these avenues of relief.
See Social Security Ruling (SSR) 13-1p.
I have not had occasion to file under the second and third methods, which I would hope are rarely needed. But it is gratifying to know that those avenues are available.
However, regardless of which approach one uses to seek redress of a grievance, it is always important to file an appeal with the Appeals Council if a claimant disagrees with a decision on its merits.
This material should not be construed as legal advice for any particular fact situation, but is intended for general informational purposes only. For advice specific to any individual situation, an experienced attorney should be contacted.