Disability Appeals in North Carolina  -   33 Years Experience
David R. Paletta
Disability Attorney

Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, Boone
North Carolina

(919) 491-5643

Federal Court Appeals for Social Security Disability Cases

Published by David Paletta

The Social Security Administration provides three (3) appeals to an individual who applies for Social Security disability benefits and is denied.  The denied claimant may:

1.  Request a reconsideration by the Disability Determination Services (DDS).
2.  Request a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ).
3.  Request a review by the Appeals Council.

If the claimant loses all 3 appeals before the Social Security Administration, he/she can file an appeal in a Federal District Court.

North Carolina has three (3) Federal District Courts:  the Western District, the Middle District and the Eastern District.  These United States District Courts are often referred to as WDNC, MDNC and EDNC.

Each Federal District Court has two kinds of Judges - Magistrate Judges and District Court Judges.  Magistrate Judges issue "Recommendations".   Recommendations are not binding upon the parties unless they voluntarily consent.

The District Court Judge reviews the Magistrate's Recommendation and issues a Decision that is binding on the parties.  The Magistrate's Recommendation is important because most of the time it is accepted by the District Court Judge.  For example, in the Western District of North Carolina the Magistrate's Recommendation in disability cases is accepted 98% of the time.

Not all disability appeals go to a Magistrate Judge.  Some disability appeals are sent directly to a District Court Judge who makes a decision without a Magistrate's Recommendation.

On occasion a District Court Judge issues a "Remand by Consent".  This occurs when the attorney for the Social Security Administration (SSA) reviews the appeal and agrees with the Plaintiff that SSA made an error and the case should be sent back (remanded) to SSA for further review.  

If the Federal Court denies the claimant's appeal, that decision may be appealed to a Circuit Court of Appeals.  Appeals of decisions made in a U.S. District Court in North Carolina go to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals.