The most recent issue of the newsletter of the National Organization of Social Security Claimants Representatives (NOSSCR), which is not available online, has an article prepared by Social Security's Office of Appellate Operations Staff on the exception process at the Appeals Council. Generally, a claimant may not file a new claim for disability benefits while an old claim is pending at the Appeals Council. However, there is an exception process where there is evidence of a new critical or disabling condition. Here's a table from the article showing just how infrequently the agency finds grounds for an exception:
Does it seem outrageous to you that any claimant could file a new claim while an old one is pending at the Appeals Council? What do you think about the fact that the Appeals Council sits on most cases for well over a year and often over a year and a half yet denies review something like 80% of the time? It almost seems like the delay is intentional, just to make taking a case to the United States District Court less appealing. Whether it's intentional or not, that's the effect. I don't think that's appropriate.