FORNEY v. APFEL, COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY

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Case Basics
Docket No. 
97-5737
Petitioner 
Forney
Respondent 
Apfel, Commissioner of Social Security
Advocates
(On behalf of the respondent in support of the petitioner)
(As amicus curiae by invitation of the Court in support of the judgment below)
(Argued the cause for the petitioner)
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Facts of the Case 

Sandra K. Forney applied for Social Security disability benefits. A Social Security Judge determined Forney was minimally disabled, but that she was not disabled enough to qualify for benefits. Consequently she was denied her disability claim. The Social Security Administration's Appeals Council denied Forney's request for review. Forney then sought judicial review in federal District Court. The District Court found that the final determination was inadequately supported by the evidence and remanded the case to the agency for further proceedings. Forney appealed the remand order to the Court of Appeals. She contended that the agency's denial of benefits should be reversed outright. The Court of Appeals did not hear her claim, however, for it decided that Forney did not have the legal right to appeal.

Question 

Can a Social Security disability claimant seeking court reversal of an agency decision denying benefits appeal a district court order remanding the case to the agency for further proceeding?

Conclusion 
Decision: 9 votes for Forney, 0 vote(s) against
Legal provision: 28 U.S.C. 1291

Yes. In a unanimous decision announced by Justice Stephen G. Breyer, the Court held that a person seeking Social Security disability benefits may appeal to a federal Court of Appeals when a District Court remands the case to the agency for further proceedings.

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FORNEY v. APFEL, COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY. The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law. 05 April 2014. <http://www.oyez.org/cases/1990-1999/1997/1997_97_5737>.
FORNEY v. APFEL, COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY, The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, http://www.oyez.org/cases/1990-1999/1997/1997_97_5737 (last visited April 5, 2014).
"FORNEY v. APFEL, COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY," The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, accessed April 5, 2014, http://www.oyez.org/cases/1990-1999/1997/1997_97_5737.