I received two very different and unusual approvals of Social Security Disability (“SSD”) applications today.
The first was a fully favorable decision from the Appeals Council (“AC”). While that by itself is rare, since most AC decision are either remands or denials of relief, this decision was particularly rare because the Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) had approved the application last month. On its own initiative, the AC decided to review the ALJ’s approval, and decided that there was nothing to do. I have had more reviews by the AC on its own initiative during the last year than in the last ten years combined. It is unclear whether such reviews are a wise use of the Agency’s limited resources.
The second unusual decision was a fully favorable approval of an application that was filed almost a decade ago in 2004. I took over the case after it had already been to federal court. After I took the case to federal court a second time and two more hearings with medical and vocational experts, the claimant’s application was finally approved.