We believe that our extensive experience litigating these appeals on behalf of SSA before the federal courts gives us a unique perspective that helps us advocate effectively for our clients. Our staff of lawyers has briefed well over 1,000 disability cases in federal courts across the country. Moreover, as former attorneys for SSA, we have a very keen sensitivity to those issues which are problematic for the Agency. We use this knowledge and experience to our clients’ advantage. Ask an OGC attorney in Region III what firm they would least like to have facing them on the other side. If you do that, we firmly believe you will be calling Chermol & Fishman today.
Really Knowing the System from the Inside
Perhaps the most overlooked, or totally unknown, aspect of disability appeals in federal courts is the RVR process. An RVR is when the government attorney responsible for defending the ALJ’s decision in federal court requests authority from the Appeals Council to consent to voluntary remand. In other words, SSA agrees to send the case back instead of submitting a brief in defense of the ALJ’s decision. Due to our more than 25 years combined experience handling federal court appeals on behalf of SSA, our attorneys know how the RVR process works better than any other claimants’ attorney in the region. We understand the issues that need to be pursued and how to frame them best in order to give our clients the best possible opportunity for an RVR. If an opening brief is properly crafted, in many instances OGC should be agreeing to remand instead of filing their brief in opposition. Why fight when you can just win?
Is it worth it to appeal to federal court?
Yes, for several reasons. First and foremost, you are providing a higher quality of representation for your clients when you anticipate the possible need for federal court appeals. Second, the allowance rate for remanded cases is very high. In fact, it is much higher than the normal allowance rate at the ALJ level. Obviously an award of benefits helps the client. However, it also benefits you because the additional time delay caused by the federal court litigation has caused the back benefits to grow. Therefore, your fee is higher. In the end, a case that you would have otherwise just written off could end up generating a max fee or better. Third, you win more cases. Of course you get the direct benefit of winning cases that were remanded by the federal courts. But even more important is the indirect benefit. Once you get a reputation as someone who will appeal to the federal courts, ALJs are much more inclined to rule in your favor on those borderline cases. It is a subtle but very real phenomenon.
Let’s Work Together
We will handle all aspects of any federal court appeals. We would also handle any Appeals Council briefs should you wish us to do so.
The most important thing to know is that we will respect your relationship with your client. It is your choice entirely as to whether you would like to handle the case on remand or whether you would prefer to have our office do so.
We can discuss financial arrangements. If you want us to handle the case completely after the referral then of course we would pay a referral fee. If you would prefer to handle the case on remand, then we would file for EAJA fees from the government. Give us a call today so that we start building a winning relationship together.