Appealing a Social Security Decision

If you disagree with the decision made by the Social Security Administration in regards to your Social Security or Supplemental Security Income claim you may appeal the decision. You can appeal the decision online, or obtain the necessary documents from online or your local Social Security office, fill them out and return them to the local office. You may also have a social security disability lawyer who is very knowledgeable about social security law, file the appeal for you.

You must make a written request for appeal within 60 days (+ 5 days for mail time) of the time you received the decision. In some cases, this period of time may be extended. A social security disability lawyer can help you in this process.

There are 4 stages in the process of reviewing a claim and those stages include:

Reconsideration – Somebody, other than the person who made the first decision, will conduct a complete, overall review of your claim. They will also review any additional evidence that you may have submitted to help support your claim. A new decision will will made. If you disagree with the new decision, you may have the claim go to the next stage of the appeals process.

Hearing – Once the claim reaches the second level of the appeals process, a hearing will be held by an Administrative Law Judge. You, and your representative, if you have one, will attend the hearing and present your case to the Judge. The Administrative Law Judge will review you claim and evidence on record and make a decision.

Appeals Council – In addition to the Administrative Law Judge’s decision, the Appeals Council may also make a decision and have the Administrative Law Judge issue a different decision. The Appeals Council may also let the Administrative Law Judge’s decision stand. Once a decision is officially made, you will receive a copy of the Appeals Council’s decision.

Federal Court Review – If you do not agree with the Appeals Council’s decision, you may file a civil suit with the Federal District Court.

For the appeals process, you may hire an attorney or council to help you, or you may act on your own behalf. If you have representation, they cannot charge you without getting a written approval from Social Security beforehand. You may obtain an Appointment of Representative form online or from your local Social Security office. You may also call the toll-free number 1-800-772-1213 for assistance and information regarding the appeals process.

Example:
Joe’s claim for Social Security Disability Insurance was denied. Joe is unhappy with the decision and wants to appeal it. Instead of facing the appeals process on his own, Joe hires a Social Security disability lawyer to help him. Joe and his attorney file a request for appeal within 65 days, which includes mailing time.

A Reconsideration will be conducted by a different individual than the one who reviewed Joe’s claim before. Joe will include any new evidence to his claim and it will be thoroughly reviewed. A new decision will be made.

If Joe is not satisfied with the new decision, Joe and his lawyer can go to the next level of the appeals process which is a hearing in front of an Administrative Law Judge. At the hearing, Joe’s lawyer will present evidence in addition to the evidence already on file. The Administrative Law Judge will come up with a decision.

The Appeals Council may also issue a different decision and ask the Judge to issue an alternative decision. The Appeals Council may also want the Judge’s decision to stand.

Finally, if Joe is still unhappy with the ruling of the claim, he and his lawyer may file a civil suit in Federal District Court. This can be a long process and it helps to have a social security expert on your side. Contact a social security disability lawyer right away to help you fight a Social Security Administration decision.

If you have a question about social security law or want to file a social security claim in California, contact the Law Office of Louis J. Vigorita now.