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The Appeals Process

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:
  • Reconsideration;
  • Hearing by an administrative law judge;
  • Review by the Appeals Council; and
  • Federal Court review.

Reconsideration

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.

Hearing

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.

Appeals Council

If you disagree with the hearing decision, you may ask for a review by Social Security’s Appeals Council.

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.

Federal Court

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.

The form below allows you to request a Free disability benefits evaluation. Complete the form below and a disability advocate will review your case and call you to let you know if you may be eligible for benefits.

Free Evaluation
Applicant's Information
First Name MI Last Name
* Name:
Street Address:
* City:  
* State:
  * Zip Code:  
* Phone and time to call:
- -
 
* Retype Phone Number:
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* Email Address:
   
* Date of birth:
       
* Does applicant expect to be out of work for at least 12 months?
 
* Does applicant already receive Social Security benefits?
 
* Is an attorney helping applicant with this case?
 
* Is applicant currently under the care of a doctor?
 
* How many years has applicant worked in the last 10 years?
 
* What is the medical condition that prevents applicant from working?
 
By clicking “Submit”, I hereby consent to receive autodialed and/or pre-recorded phone calls from a disability advocate or attorney at the telephone number(s) provided above, even if that phone number is a wireless number and even if you have previously registered that phone number on a “do not call” list. I understand that consent is not a condition of purchase.

Privacy and Security Notice: Your personal information is strictly confidential and secure.

Upon submitting this form, you will receive an email and/or a phone call shortly during regular business hours. A disability advocate will give you a free evaluation of your disability claim.


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