First, your attorney should have explained to you that you have 60 days to file an appeal into federal district court. if you have the time, you should do that now. More info on where to contact an attorney is below.
Second, reopening is a totally discretionary deision by SSA, And, in cases where a new claim is filed and a request for reopening is made with the time frames that seem to have occurred in your claim, SSA requires proof of good cause for reopening. Since you had an attorney at the hearing and filed an appeal to the Appeals Council, I doubt any ALJ will reopen the old claim. So, if you are still eleigible to file a new claim, that claim should protect you from the day after the date of the previous ALJ decision. And, unfortunately, a decision not to reopen an old claim cannot be appealed into federal court.
As for finding an attorney, you may contact your local city, county or state bar association to see if they have a lawyer referral program, or you may contact your local legal aid office if you cannot afford an attorney.
You may also contact the National Organization of Social Security Claimants' Representatives (NOSSCR) for the name and email address or telephone number of attorneys in your area. The telephone number for the lawyer referral service of NOSSCR is 1-800-431-2804. NOSSCR's website is www.nosscr.org. NOSSCR has a number of attorneys who are willing to handle appeals of cases from other lawyers. Talk to your lawyer for a referral too.
In addition, you can find a Board certified specialist in Social Security by contacting the National Board of Trial Advocacy. They evaluate lawyers (independently) in many types of claims and require extensive experience and testing before a lawyer is certified. They have a section specifically for Social Security: The National Board of Social Security Disability Advocacy, Divisions of the National Board of Legal Specialty Certification.
Their link is: http://www.nblsc.us/
Hope this all helps. Best of luck to you.
The exact answers to questions like this require more information than presented. The answer(s) provided should be considered general information. The information provided by this is general advice, and is not legal advice. Viewing this information is not intended to create, and does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship. It is intended to educate the reader and a more definite answer should be based on a consultation with a lawyer. You should not take any action that might affect your claim without first seeking the professional opinion of an attorney. You should consult an attorney who can can ask all the appropriate questions and give legal advice based on the exact facts of your situation. The general information provided here does not create an attorney-client relationship.
There are very specific time limitations with regard to pursuing an appeal of an unfavorable SS decision. I would consult with another SS attorney as soon as possible. Many attorneys in the Jacksonville, Florida area who handle SS claims have little desire to handle a case at the Federal Court level. Best of luck to you.
This information is provided as a public service to provide a general answer and should not be relied upon as legal advice.
You have been denied by an ALJ and that decision was affirmed by the Appeal Council. This means you have 60 days from the date of receipt to file in a US District Court. Of course, if your attorney thought it was such an "easy win" he/she would have filed in US District Court. Despite your multiple problems the ALJ did not find the medical evidence convincing. It is going to be very difficult to get a new lawyer at this stage. Perhaps your best bet is to get some treatment and file a new claim based on new evidence. Next time hire a lawyer who can fight your case all the way.
This response is meant to be information only and should not be considered to be legal advice. This information is not meant and should not be construed to be the formation of an attorney client relationship. I practice Virginia Workers compensation law and Social Security Disability law.