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Disability Determination Services

Appeal Rights

Described below is what happens when you request a review of the determination made on your disability case:

  • You send a signed request for appeal to us.
  • We review it to make sure all of the information is complete. We may contact you for missing or unclear information.
  • We will contact you to complete a disability report and to sign medical release forms if you have not already done so. If you have submitted the report we will review it to make sure all of the information is complete.
  • We will send your case to the office that determines if you are disabled under Social Security law.
  • That office will request any new medical records that you have listed on your medical report.
  • That office will then review all of your medical records—both old and new.
  • If you have requested a face-to-face review, that office will make an appointment to meet with you. You will have an opportunity to meet face-to-face with someone from the office that decides your case. If you want this face-to-face meeting, we will make the appointment with you.
  • The decision-making office will notify you in writing of their decision on your case.

There are four possible steps in the disability appeals process. They must be completed in the order listed below if you disagree with the determination on your case.

Reconsideration

You should complete a Request for Reconsideration and an Appeal Disability Report. Both forms can be completed on the Internet, and submitted electronically to Social Security, or you can complete paper versions and send them to your local Social Security office. No matter how you complete the forms, Social Security will send your case to the State Disability Determination Services office. Someone there will review your medical records and make a new determination about your disability. It will not be the person whom made the last determination on your case. After reviewing your medical records, they will notify you in writing of their decision.

Hearing

You should complete a Request for Hearing by Administrative Law Judge and an Appeal Disability Report. Both forms can be completed on the Internet, and submitted electronically to Social Security, or you can complete paper versions and send them to your local Social Security office. No matter how you complete the forms, Social Security will send your request to the Office of Disability Adjudication and Review. If you want to meet face-to-face with the judge, an appointment will be made for you. After talking with you and your representative, the judge will notify you in writing of his/her decision on your case.

Appeals Council Review

You should complete a Request for Review of Decision/Order of Administrative Law Judge. You cannot do this on the Internet. Sign and send it to your local Social Security office. They will send your request to the Office of Disability Adjudication and Review. Someone there will review your medical records and notify you in writing of the decision on your case.

District Court Case

You must have an attorney at this level of appeal. He or she must file a case against Social Security in District Court. Your case will be heard by a district court judge who will notify you in writing of the decision on your case.

Visit the Social Security Appeals Process Website for more information

Page last updated 07/29/2013