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. Tina L.

    I filed a reconsideration on an overpayment .I was granted my full beifits back.But when my check came they were still taking over 400 a month I contacted them .werei was told I had to prove to them that I wasn’t working and as for the reconsideration they told me the lady had retired .so I guess the turn over doesn’t count they have responded numerous times over this over payment including on my yearly 1099statingivenever paid a dime back in overpayments and no one willhelp

    • Vonda

      For your security, Tina, we do not have access to private information in this venue. We ask that members in our Blog community work with our offices with specific questions. 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.

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  10. Confused

    I had my appeal case yesterday and I don’t think it went well! Lol
    I would like opinions on my situation and to see what direction to go to correct.
    I have been receiving FERs disability annuity since 2013, I am disabled from there guidelines. The ALJ at the hearing also stated that I was disabled, which was good to hear. So here is the situation, I worked from 1986 -2004 at the USPS and resigned in 2004 to start my construction business. I was not good at business and did not earn money to contribute to SSA. I was in business for 5-6 years and then had a heart attack 2011 and was lucky to be alive. I had another in 2012 and also lucky again. I applied for SSDI in 2012 and was denied and I was still sick that I did not appeal because I did not want to get worse. So I tried to go back to work and did for the US Treasury in November 2012 and that lasted until May of 2013 as they where going to release me for work performance, so I resigned due to medical reasons. The doctors found out I had more heart issues then CAD and that helped with less pain.
    Here is why this is not good, because I had the break in service and did not contribute when in business I did not earn credits and over 5 years.
    Let’s talk about my 20plus years of contributions that was mine and my agency. I can’t hold a job due to my acknowledged DISABILITY. So not only worked for this government for 27 years but the TECHNICALITY out shines my legitimate DISABILITY and here is the kicker I have all my Quarters in so am eligible for Ssa at 62 without another dollar of contribution. Yesterday’s court hearing was in the phone and like we change to accommodate life, such as rules for decades need to change!!
    Again my money and can’t get for it’s purpose!!

    • Vonda

      Hi Confused, thanks for using our blog. 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. Check out our Disability Benefits – How You Qualify web page for more details. We hope this helps.

      • Confused

        Then why do I qualify for SSA AT 62 with the same formula you use. It’s a double standard. So the government uses sub rules that contradict other rules. The absolute truth is I can get SSA BUT NOT SSDI. Yea that concept works. Maybe we should use common sense. In the end it my contributions and it should be timeless just like SSA, but it is not!!! So Vonda if you would like I can take over every savings you have after 5 years as per your employer that I worked for. In closing I am eligible for SSA at 62 and not for disability and to reiterate it’s my money not yours!! And the world thinks that ok because the government made a common sense decision Credits , but quarters are a whole different thing in the same system. NEEDS TO CHANGE!!!!!!!!

        • cat

          applied for disability for husband nov.2020..could not make appt set up by case worker for Dr. due to covid..called dozens of times left message every time..never got return call until Sept.2021, worker chuckled apologied say she just got all my messages..she then asked if had ever seen dr…had already seen 4 times!!!within month after got denial even though case worker NEVER BOTHERED TO GET MEDICAL RECORDS WE TOLD HER ABOUT…now about to lose our home and have nowhere to go..SO WRONG IN SO MANY WAYS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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