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Supplemental Security Income Appeals

If the Social Security Administration determines that you are not eligible for benefits, that your current benefits will end, or that the amount of your payment should change, you will receive a letter explaining that decision. Additionally, if approved, the Social Security Administration will send you a letter explaining your benefit amount. If you do not agree with any of these decisions, you can ask for an appeal.

There are different levels of appeal. They are

  1. Reconsideration*
  2. Administrative Law Judge Hearing
  3. Appeals Council Review
  4. Federal Court

*California does not require the reconsideration step. The first level of appeal is the Administrative Law Judge Hearing

To request an appeal, you must notify the Social Security Administration, in writing, within 60 days of the date you receive your notice. Your notice should tell you how to appeal should you wish to do so. If you file an appeal within 10 days, your Social Security Income benefits may continue at the same amount until the Social Security Administration makes a determination on your appeal.


Reconsideration is the first step in the appeals process and you must ask in writing for reconsideration within 60 days of your written notice of initial determination. If you are requesting to appeal a termination of benefits and you want to continue receiving benefits until a determination is made, you must make your written request for benefits to continue within 10 days of receiving the written notice. You should know that you are entitled to a face to face hearing with a hearing officer.

Administrative Law Judge Hearing

If you disagree with the decision at the reconsideration level, you may request, in writing, a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge within 60 days after you get the notice of reconsideration determination (in California, after the initial determination). You may continue to receive your Social Security Income if you are appealing a termination of benefits and must request in writing for your benefits to continue.

You do not have to appear in person at the hearing before a judge. If you do not wish to appear, you may ask the judge to make the decision based on the evidence in your file. If you do want to appear, you must arrive at your scheduled hearing. If you do not show up to your scheduled hearing, you may lose your appeal rights and benefits.

At the hearing, the judge may ask other witnesses, such as medical experts, to attend. If there are certain witnesses you want to appear, you may ask the judge to order certain witnesses attend. The judge may ask you or any of these witnesses questions. You may also ask witnesses questions and present new evidence.

While the hearing is informal, it is likely you would want an experienced attorney to represent you and help you through the process. This area of law is complex and daunting and the help of an experienced attorney can make the process less intimidating.

Appeals Council

If you disagree with the administrative law judge's decision, you may request an appeal by writing to the Social Security Administration within 60 days after you receive your hearing decision. At this level of appeal, you may submit new evidence and the Appeals Council will examine our case and either grant, deny, or dismiss your request for review. If your request for review is granted, the Appeals Council will then either decide your case or return it to the Administrative Law Judge for further action would could result in another hearing and new decision.

Federal Court

The final step in the appeals process is an appeal to the US District Court. If the Appeals Council issues a decision or denies your request for review of an Administrative Law Judge's decision and you disagree with that action and want to appeal, you must file a civil action with the US District Court within 60 days after you receive the notice of the Appeals Council action. The US District court will not conduct another hearing but rather review the evidence and the final Social Security Administration decision. If you have applied for Social Security Disability benefits and have been denied but are unable to work due to an injury or illness, Call the experienced Stanton Social Security Disability attorneys at Howard Law and let us help you with your appeal and get you the benefits you deserve.