Disagree with Your Disability Decision? We Will Take Another Look

July 29, 2021 • By

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Last Updated: July 29, 2021

Disagree with Your Disability Decision? We Will Take Another LookSocial Security is here to help millions of people secure today and tomorrow by providing benefits and financial protection. We continue to protect the integrity of our disability programs by ensuring we make the correct decision on each claim. However, if you disagree with our decision on your claim, you can ask us to review your case by filing an appeal.

How can I appeal Social Security’s decision on my claim?

Generally, there are four appeal levels. If you are not satisfied with the decision at one level, you may appeal to the next. The appeal levels are:

  1. Reconsideration: A reconsideration is a complete review of your claim by someone who did not take part in the first decision. We will look at all the evidence submitted in the original determination, and any new evidence.
  2. Hearing: If you disagree with the decision we made at the reconsideration level, you may ask for a hearing. An administrative law judge, who had no part in the original decision or the reconsideration of your case, conducts the hearing.
  3. Appeals Council Review: If you disagree with the hearing decision, you can request a review by Social Security’s Appeals Council. The Appeals Council looks at all requests for review and can either make a decision on your case or return your case to the judge for further review.
  4. Federal Court Review: If you disagree with the Appeals Council’s decision or if the Appeals Council decides not to review your case, you can file a lawsuit in a federal district court as the last level in the appeals process.

Please visit our Appeal A Decision web page for more information.

When should I file my appeal?

If we denied your claim, you have 60 days from the date of the notice to file an appeal. The easiest and quickest way is to file your appeal request online, where you can submit associated documents electronically. You can also call your local Social Security office or 1-800-772-1213 to obtain the forms.

Do I need a representative to file an appeal?

Whether you choose to appoint an attorney or authorized representative is completely up to you. You may choose to have someone help you with your appeal or represent you. Your representative may be a lawyer or other qualified person familiar with you and the Social Security program. We will work with your representative just as we would work with you. They can act for you in most Social Security matters, and they will receive a copy of any decisions we make about your claim.

If you need us to review your case, please go online or call 1-800-772-1213.

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About the Author

Dawn Bystry, Acting Associate Commissioner, Office of Strategic and Digital Communications

Deputy Associate Commissioner, Office of Strategic and Digital Communications


  1. Toneca S.

    I dont understand why it is necessary for a review during a SHUTDOWN when I was reviewed last year. Calling from private numbers is crazy. Wouldn’t it be more logical to wait??? Then I received conflicting letters then I didnt recieve my benefits…

  2. Robert T.

    Hello, are you looking for extra money? Try paid surveys and other online and start earning money.


  3. Suzanne B.

    In February 2021 I was denied disability by the Admin Law Judge for my back. It was a very weird phone hearing. She was in Missouri and I live in California. When she was talking to the occupational therapist, the occupational therapist said there are no jobs who would let an employee get up and walk around every 30 – 60 minutes. On her judgement, it said I could sit for 6 hrs out of an 8 hour day. I also noticed a lot of discrepancies in her report. I would like to appeal her discussion, but this bothers me *The Appeals Council looks at all requests for review and can either make a decision on your case or return your case to the judge for further review * I don’t want it to go back to the original judge, I would like fresh eyes to look over it. Also the company I went throught to represent me, said they would not represent me in the appeal. Do you have any suggestions? Thanks

    • GL

      Good luck. I got denied a review by appeals council because they didn’t see a reason. I had a lot of conflicting statements in my decision. It didn’t make any sense. The occupational therapist said that I couldn’t work the way my attorney said I needed to in order to hold down a job due to my medical situation. But judge still said I could work.

  4. Kathleen

    I would say this is the most corrupt system I have ever had to be involved with unfortunately. When you have worked hard most of your life to then have it ripped away from you is bad enough. Then to have to hire a lawyer, fight and fight to get the money you earned to be able to survive as now your unable to do so on your own and they find every excuse to deny you multiple times, lose years of back pay when you have years worth of proof, Drs. Letters, pages and pages of medical history and paperwork and yet they will try to find anyway around it and punish you more then your disability already has, it’s beyond corrupt. Specially when I constantly see the typical SSI person who has hardly worked, never earned enough and their ” So called” disability is either self inflicted or is a poor me, I have problems therefore I don’t feel like working, makes me sick! Yet, they are the ones that seem to never have an issue having it handed to them. I say it’s time that something is done with this very corrupt disability system.

    • Sheena

      I have physical and mental disabilities. I have always tried to work since I was 16 years old. My physical disabilities are somewhat manageable with constant treatments and medication. My mental health issues aren’t so easily managed. You can’t see them, but they are there, and they have robbed me and anyone who cares for me of our lives. From the outside, I look “fine” but the physicians at my hearing all agreed that there is nothing I can or should be doing as far as work. And yet, I have still been denied. I just wanted to point out that you can’t judge a book by its cover and having a sense of entitlement is only going to make you sicker. Good luck. Best wishes for your health and wellness.

  5. Robert G.

    I find it sad that so many of us have worked 40+ years just surviving. Social Security has me paying back 3 years of disability a total of $33,000. I lost over $500 per month when taken off disability but I’m still unable to work.

    • William G.

      it is hard, when you can’t work and nothing is being done to make it better when the work force have you file an resignation in not working because of a hip needing replacement and it takes a long, long time to get one when on top your prostate needs radiation therapy, and other issues due from your tour of duty in two war zones you served your country, and your country is doing the best they can to help you.

  6. Working p.

    You shouldn’t need to take another look when your own professionals conclude cognitive impairment such as early-onset dementia in someone who has paid into SSD for many years and is fully insured by it. You shouldn’t suggest that such fully insured pay a lawyer out of their meager benefits, or that they be subjected to abuse and stress in a courtroom and by an administrative law judge.

  7. Gina R.

    I work so hard I work two jobs, now I’m disabled who in the heck can live off of this? I work two jobs just to find out that I’m going to live in poverty for the rest of my life. This isn’t even right I can’t hold a job I can’t stand on my feet no more than 30 minutes at a time and it’s not enough to live on, I can’t buy my kids Christmas gifts I can never afford a vacation again I don’t even think I have a reason to continue living.

    • De

      Their mistakes…too bad for you. Overpayment is their new way of screwing hard working Americans. When they have info completely wrong…YOU have the burden of proof and you never win.
      Biggest scam that keeps getting worse each year.
      I worked 2 jobs and college, mostly FT plus raised kids solo as disabled. Now I’m an amputee, pandemic and nobody to care for disabled teen, home 24/7.
      Yes, all that work, never saw my kids, grown now, and I can barely afford rent only with their mistake of my benefits.
      Screw the workers…reward the rich criminals. Great America.

  8. April A.

    I was approved for SSI a few years ago because I was unable to find my old doctors contact information that would prove my disability began within the timeframe of when I stopped working and had worked enough years to qualify for SSD. I’m now able to prove that and would like to try to qualify for the whole benefit I should be entitled to. Is it possible to try again?

    • Shelia c.

      Yes, just apply online.

    • Patty

      Hi April. Thanks for using the blog. Social Security pays benefits through two programs. The Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program and the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program. SSI is a needs-based program that provides cash assistance to disabled adults and children who have limited income and resources. Also, SSI benefits are payable to people 65 and older without disabilities, who meet the financial limits. When it comes to qualifying for disability benefits under the Social Security Disability Income or SSDI program, individuals must have worked long enough–and recently enough–under Social Security to qualify for disability benefits. Generally, you need 40 credits, 20 of which you have to earn within the last 10 years before you become disabled. If you have specific questions about your situation, please call your local Social Security office or our toll-free number at 1-800-772-1213, Monday through Friday, between 8:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. and ask one of our representatives to assist you. We hope this helps.

      • RANDALL L.

        Thank you. My brother applied for benefits some years ago (five or six years ago)- not sure if it was for SSI and/or SSDI. He is not sure what the ultimate result of his application as he was displaced during that time. Is there any way for him to get an update/history of his interactions with SS now? If yes, how?

  9. Raymond A.

    I am a disabled veteran, but I do not remember ever filing as such with S/S, or even knowing if I could. What would you suggest I do in these circumstances?

    • Shelia C.

      You can getting assistance with application process for Social Security through your local veterans service office or apply online yourself.

    • Patty

      Hi. First of all, thank you so much for your service! If you are receiving benefits from the VA, you have to complete a separate application for Social Security disability. You may apply for disability benefits at any time while in military status or after discharge, whether you are still hospitalized, in a rehabilitation program, or undergoing out-patient treatment in a military or civilian medical facility. To apply for Social Security disability, you can use our online application.

      If you are unable or would rather not apply online, you can call us at 1-800-772-1213 for assistance or you can contact your local Social Security office. Please look for the general inquiry telephone number at the Social Security Office Locator. The number may appear under Show Additional Office Information. Please be aware that our call wait times are longer than normal. We hope this information helps.

  10. Everett E.

    Is it possible to file a claim that was denied twice, back in 2005 . I am currently a disabled veteran. But is it possible to get social security disability?

    • Shelia C.

      Yes, just apply online yourself or with your representative if you have lawyer. You can also get help through your local veterans service office.

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