Social Security is there to help millions of people secure their lives today and tomorrow by providing benefits and financial protection. We continue to protect the integrity of our disability programs by making sure we make the right decision about any claim. However, if you disagree with the decision on your claim, you can request a review of your case by appealing.
How can I appeal against Social Security’s decision on my claim?
In general, there are four occupational levels. If you are not happy with the decision on one level, you can appeal to the next.
1. Review: A review is a full review of your claim by someone who did not participate in the initial decision. We look at all of the evidence submitted in the original finding and any new evidence.
2. hearing: If you disagree with the decision at the reconsideration level, you can ask to be heard. An administrative judge, who had no part in the original decision or the reconsideration of your case, conducts the hearing.
3. Assessment of the Board of Appeal: If you do not agree with the hearing decision, you can request a review from the Social Security Appeals Board. The Board of Appeal reviews all requests for review. They will decide whether there is a reason to return your case to the judge for further review.
4. Federal Court Assessment: If you disagree with the decision of the Board of Appeals, you can file a lawsuit in a federal district court as the last level in the appeals process.
Visit our Appeals to a Decision webpage for more information at www.ssa.gov/benefits/disability/appeal.html.
When should I submit my objection?
If we have rejected your claim, you have 60 days from the date of notification to object. The easiest and fastest way is to submit your appeal request online at www.ssa.gov/benefits/disability/appeal.html. Here you can submit the corresponding documents electronically. You can also call your local Social Security office or 1-800-772-1213 to obtain the forms. You can find your local office at www.ssa.gov/locator.
Do I need a representative to appeal?
A representative or lawyer is not obliged to appeal. Whether you choose to appoint a lawyer or authorized representative is entirely up to you. You can choose to have someone help you with your objection or to be represented. Your representative may be a lawyer or other qualified person who is familiar with you and the Social Security program. We will work with your representative as we would work with you. They can act for you in most social security matters and they will receive a copy of all decisions we make about your claim.
If you would like us to review your case, please visit www.ssa.gov/benefits/disability/appeal.html or call 1-800-772-1213. Please share this information with your family and friends.
Q: If I go back to work, will I automatically lose my WAO benefit?
A: No, Social Security has several job incentive programs to help people who want to work. You may be able to receive monthly benefits and continue your health insurance during a trial period. For information about Social Security’s work incentives and how they can help you get back to work, do one of the following:
• Visit our dedicated work site at www.ssa.gov/work.
• See the Red Book on work incentives at www.ssa.gov/redbook.
• Check out our publications at www.ssa.gov/pubs and type ‘work’ in the search box.
For more information, visit www.ssa.gov or call us at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778).
Q: I am currently receiving a WAO benefit. I now have a second serious handicap. Can my monthly benefit be increased?
A: No. The amount of your Social Security disability benefit is based on the amount of your lifetime earnings before your disability began and not on the number of disabling conditions or illnesses you may have. For more information, visit www.ssa.gov/disability.
This column was prepared by the Social Security Administration. For quick answers to specific Social Security questions, contact Social Security toll-free at 800-772-1213 or visit www.socialsecurity.gov.