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Federal District Court Judges can grant Social Security Disability Benefits without remanding for further Hearings

THE FEDERAL COURT HAS AUTHORITY TO REVERSE THE DECISION OF THE SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION WITHOUT REMANDING FOR A REHEARING. As a procedural matter, when you appeal the decision of the Social Security Administration to Federal Court, the Federal Court has the authority to overturn the decision of the Commissioner and grant benefits without remanding for an additional hearing. Susan O’Malley has had this issue come up as in some cases Federal District Court Judges have been so convinced that her clients should have their benefits; without delay, that remand for additional appeals or evidence has been unnecessary. The Fourth Circuit has held that it is appropriate for a federal court to “reverse without remanding where the record does not contain substantial evidence to support a decision denying coverage under the correct legal standard and when reopening the record for new evidence would serve no purpose.” Breeden v. Weinberger, 493 F.2d 1002, 1012 (4th Cir. 1974). A plain language reading of the Social Security Act supports this interpretation: “[t]he [reviewing] court shall have power to enter …a judgment … reversing the Commissioner of Social Security, with or without remanding the case for a rehearing.” 42 U.S.C. § 405(g)(emphasis supplied). Thus, when the procedural posture dictates, new fact-finding is irrelevant, or another hearing will not change the outcome, at O'Malley Tunstall, our Social Security team will specifically argue that the District Court should overturn the Commissioner’s decision, and grant benefits, without remanding. If you have specific questions regarding Social Security Disability or our Social Security team, please visit our website, or ask for Susan, Amos or Joe as all the attorneys in our office handle Social Security Disability at the hearing and appeal level.

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