Question: I’m so mad. Can I sue Social Security?
Answer: We sue Social Security all the time since we’re pretty familiar with suing them. We don’t have any hesitancy about doing it when it’s called for. But you can’t sue some person or organization just because you’re mad at them. Your complaint against that person or organization has to fall into some category of lawsuit that the courts are willing to recognize or you just don’t get anywhere. When you’re talking about Social Security, your case has to fit some pretty specific criteria. If your case doesn’t fit into those criteria, it gets thrown out quickly. No attorney would want to waste time with your case if it didn’t have some chance of success.
When you’re a claimant for Social Security benefits and you are unhappy with what Social Security has done with your case, you have to meet a basic requirement. Social Security must have made a “final” decision. If you still have appeal rights within Social Security, you can’t sue Social Security in federal court. You can’t sue just because Social Security has turned you down once or twice. You must have been turned down by a Social Security Administrative Law Judge and by Social Security’s Appeals Council. You may be three years into your case before this happens.
In theory, you can sue Social Security because they are so slow but it’s hard to win on this sort of case. The delay has to be a lot more shocking than you might imagine.
We’ll be happy to talk with you about suing Social Security but we will probably have to do some other things to try to get you on benefits before we can sue them — no matter how mad they’ve made you.