Social Security: SSD/SSI – Appeals, Reconsiderations, Hearings

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Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) are administered by the Social Security Administration (SSA). If you are blind or disabled or over 65 years old, you may be eligible for one or both of these programs. Applications are submitted through your local Social Security office. Many applications are denied at first.

If SSA denies your application for benefits, or decides that you are no longer eligible for benefits, or that the amount of your payments should be changed, you will receive a letter explaining their decision. If you don’t agree with the decision, you can ask them to consider your case again.

When and How Can I Appeal?

If your initial application is denied, you have 60 days to file a Request for Reconsideration. You can file your appeal with your local Social Security office or on the SSA website (http://www.socialsecurity.gov/disability/appeals). A reconsideration is a complete review of your claim by someone else who did not take part in the first decision. If your claim is denied again, you can ask for a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge. If you disagree with the hearing decision, you may ask for a review by the Social Security’s Appeal Council. 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.

Can Someone Help Me File an Appeal?

Many people handle their own Social Security appeals with free help from SSA. You can also choose a lawyer, a friend, or someone else to help you. Your representative can act for you in most Social Security matters and will receive a copy of any decisions made about your claim. Your representative cannot charge or collect a fee from you without first getting written approval from Social Security.

Contacting a lawyer or calling a legal service group as soon as you ask for a hearing or case review helps your chance of winning an appeal,  if you have a lawyer or advocate. Legal services lawyers know the rules and regulations and can help you get all the medical and other evidence you need to help win your appeal.

Will My Benefits Continue While My Case is Being Appealed?

In some cases, you may ask SSA to continue paying benefits while a decision is being made on your appeal. You can ask for this continuation of benefits when:

If you want your benefits to continue, you must tell SSA within 10 days of the date you receive the letter. If your appeal is turned down, you may have to pay back any money you weren’t eligible to receive.

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SOURCES:  Social Security Administration: “The Appeals Process,”http://www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs/10041.html.

PREPARED BY: 211/rj
CONTENT LAST REVIEWED: July2017