Francesca J. MacDowell
Attorney at Law

Practice focused on Federal Court Social Security disability appeals

Frequently Asked Questions

What documents do I need to send you?
I will need to look at the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) decision and the Appeals Council denial. You may send electronic versions of these documents. Please be advised that neither my review of those documents, nor your use of this Web site, creates an attorney/client relationship between us. (more information)

How quickly must I file my Federal Court appeal?
You usually have 60 days after the Appeals Council denies your case to file the appeal to the United States District Court. An appeal should be filed as quickly as possible. Delay can result in a loss of your right to appeal.

How long will an appeal take?
Once the appeal is filed with the District Court, it usually takes about one year for the Court to make its decision. In all but the most extreme cases, the process is completed within 18 months.

How much will it cost?
There are two fees. One fee is paid directly to the Court for filing the appeal itself; the other is my fee for representing you as your attorney.

The fee for filing the appeal itself is $400.00. However, if you do not have an income, and your spouse or partner does not have an income, we can fill out paperwork to ask the court to let you file for free.

My fee for representing you is paid only if I win your case. Even then, I will ask the court to pay my fee from the Equal Access to Justice Act. If that request is denied, I will ask the Court to pay my fee from your back benefits, in which case my fee will never be more than 25% of any back benefits you receive.

Does it matter where in NM I live?
I represent clients throughout the entire state of New Mexico. However, if you live outside the Albuquerque/Santa Fe area, it is important that you contact me early in the 60-day appeal window.

  Professional Activities

PO Box 328
Placitas, NM 87043
Telephone: (505) 404-8859
Fax: (505) 395-7557
No Legal Advice Intended. This Web site includes general information about legal issues and is for informational purposes only. This information is not intended, and must not be taken, as legal advice on any particular set of facts or circumstances. You need to contact a lawyer licensed in your jurisdiction for advice on specific legal issues and problems.