Entitlement appeals cases are administrative proceedings that involve the review of federal benefits decisions by an administrative law judge. Unlike other employment cases, entitlement cases focus primarily on applying federal laws and regulations to situations in which a federal employee has been denied federal benefits, such as the denial of Social Security disability benefits.
Two of the most common types of entitlement cases are those involving:
- Social security disability
- Federal disability retirement benefits
When bringing an entitlement case before an administrative law judge, it is important for a federal employee to be aware of any relevant laws or regulations and to present their case accordingly. It is also highly recommended that they work with an experienced federal employment law attorney who can not only familiarize them with the appeals process but help them prepare their appeal and represent them before the administrative law judge.
Keep reading to learn more about federal administrative law hearings for entitlement appeals cases.
How Do Administrative Law Hearings Work?
Administrative law hearings are a necessary step in appealing the denial of federal benefits. These hearings are conducted before an administrative law judge, who is tasked with reviewing the facts and evidence presented by both parties and determining whether or not the federal agency's decision was correct. During these hearings, federal employees may present arguments and evidence in support of their case and challenge any statements or decisions made by the opposing side.
When reviewing the case, the administrative law judge will look at:
- The employee’s work history
- The employee’s medical record
- Any other documentation pertinent to the case and the agency’s original decision
To be successful, it is important for the individual appealing the denial of federal benefits to be well-prepared and present their case effectively at the hearing.
Your First Steps
If a federal employee receives a denial of benefits from a federal agency, the first step should be to gather evidence in support of their case. This can include medical records, financial documents, and other supporting documentation that can prove why the decision was incorrect. Once relevant evidence is collected, the individual should then contact an experienced employment law attorney, like ours, at the Law Firm of John P. Mahoney, Esq., Attorneys at Law, PLLC.
With the help of their attorney, the federal employee can then request a reconsideration and, if necessary, file the appropriate appeals form. Once the appeals form is received, the individual will have an opportunity to present their case to an administrative law judge at a hearing. In situations where the employee disagrees with the administrative law judge’s decision, they may have the further option to bring their case before the Appeals Council.
What Happens If I Disagree with the Appeal’s Council’s Decision?
In situations where a federal employee has brought their entitlement appeals case before the Appeals Council and receives an unfavorable decision (or the Council declines to review their case), they have one final option: filing a civil action with the U.S. District Court in the federal employee’s area.
Do I Have to Have a Hearing?
Not necessarily. If you do not want to attend a hearing, you and/or your attorney can request that the administrative law judge review and decide on your case based on your evidence file. However, before making this request, you should discuss all of your options thoroughly with your attorney to ensure that this is the right option for your particular situation.
Are you dealing with a federal benefits denial or other benefits entitlement issue? Reach out to our law firm today for guidance. We are prepared to use our extensive experience representing clients in all types of federal employment appeals cases to help you, too.