When can I appeal?
If you wish to appeal, you must make your request in writing within 60 days from
the date you receive your denial letter. It is assumed that you receive the denial
letter five days after the date on the letter, unless you can show that you received
it later. If you need help with your appeal, complete this form to get help immediately.
How many appeal levels are there?
There are four levels of appeal. They are:
- Hearing by an administrative law judge;
- Review by the Appeals Council; and
- Federal Court review.
A reconsideration is a complete review of your claim by someone who did not take
part in the first decision. The social security administration will look at all
the evidence submitted when the original decision was made, plus any new evidence.
Most reconsiderations involve a review of your files without the need for you to
be present. But when you appeal a decision that you are no longer eligible for disability
benefits because your medical condition has improved, you can meet with a Social
Security representative and explain why you believe you still have a disability.
If you disagree with the reconsideration decision, you may ask for a hearing. The
hearing will be conducted by an administrative law judge who had no part in the
original decision or the reconsideration of your case. The hearing is usually held
within 75 miles of your home. The administrative law judge will notify you of the
time and place of the hearing.
Before the hearing, you may be asked for more evidence and to clarify information
about your claim. You may look at the information in your file and give new information.
At the hearing, the administrative law judge will question you and any witnesses
you bring. Other witnesses, such as medical or vocational experts, also may give
information at the hearing. You or your representative may question the witnesses.
It is usually to your advantage to attend the hearing even if you have an attorney
or social security disability representative helping you with your case.
After the hearing, the judge will make a decision based on all the information in
your case, including any new information you give. You will receive a letter in
the mail and a copy of the judge’s decision.
If you disagree with the hearing decision, you may ask for a review by Social Security’s
The Appeals Council looks at all requests for review, but it may deny a request
if it believes the hearing decision was correct. If the Appeals Council decides
to review your case, it will either decide your case itself or return it to an administrative
law judge for further review.
If the Appeals Council denies your request for review, you will receive a letter
explaining the denial. If the Appeals Council reviews your case and makes a decision
itself, you will receive a copy of the decision in the mail. If the Appeals Council
returns your case to an administrative law judge, you will receive a letter and
a copy of the order.
If you disagree with the Appeals Council’s decision or if the Appeals Council decides
not to review your case, you may file a lawsuit in a federal district court.