I-4-1-1.Introduction to Judicial Review of Social Security Cases

Last Update: 9/13/05 (Transmittal I-4-15)

The right to file a civil action for judicial review “after any final decision of the Commissioner made after a hearing” is based on the provisions of sections 205(g) and 1631(c)(3) of the Social Security Act (Act). Under these provisions, the Commissioner must file, as part of the answer to a complaint filed by a claimant, a certified copy of the administrative record on which the Commissioner based the final decision. After the Commissioner files the certified administrative record with the court and both sides submit briefs, the court may dismiss the case or may affirm, modify, or reverse the Commissioner's decision or remand for further proceedings. Section 205(g) of the Act provides for the court to apply a substantial evidence test when reviewing the Commissioner's final decision. After the final judgment of the district court, either side may appeal the case to the Court of Appeals and ultimately, to the U.S. Supreme Court.