The Social Security Disability and SSI Appeal Process


How does the Social Security Disability Appeal Process work?
To initiate your first appeal, you must complete a request for reconsideration form (form SSA 561), appeal disability report form (form SSA 3441), and sign a medical release form (form SSA 827).

Levels Of The Social Security Disability and SSI Application and Appeal Process
Social Security Disability and SSI evaluation is a multi level process that begins with an initial disability claim and which could end with a federal court case, or at any of the levels in between.

How Long Are You Given To Appeal Your Social Security Disability Denial?
If you want to make sure that your disability claim moves to the next level of the disability process, it is important for your appeals to be timely. If you are not timely, your disability appeal might be denied for late filing.

How Long Does a Social Security Disability or SSI Appeal Take?
A disability appeal can take longer or shorter, depending on the type of appeal that is filed.

Social Security Disability Appeal Deadlines Are Always 60 Days
Social Security allows all disability decisions to be appealed if a disability applicant disagrees with their decision. Social Security has a sixty-day appeal period that begins with the date of the decisional notice.

Will I be approved for disability on my appeal?
A disability applicant's chance of being approved for disability on their appeal is not guaranteed and will depend on the merits of the case as well as the level of the appeal.

What Happens If I Miss My Social Security Disability Appeal Date?
This depends upon the CR, a.k.a. the social security claims representative (the CR is the person at the social security office who has the responsibility for handling your claim), who receives your appeal request.

How Do I Find Out How My Disability Appeal Is Going?
If you have to file an appeal with Social Security, you should first consider how long Social Security has had your appeal before you inquire about your status.

Can I Do My Social Security Appeal Without Using A Lawyer?
Social Security does not require that a disability claimant use a lawyer for their appeal. In fact, Social Security Disability representatives do not have to be lawyers.

What If you intended an appeal of your Social Security Disability claim but missed the deadline?
There is no absolute list of all possible situations in which a claimant may be considered to have a valid excuse for missing an appeal deadline; however, if the reason is rational and logical it will generally be accepted.

What is good cause for a late disability appeal?
Social Security regulations are fairly lenient when it comes to good cause for late filing reasons. These are some of the reasons to grant good cause for filing an appeal late:

Can You Work While You Appeal Your Social Security Disability Decision?
Most people think that when an individual files an application for Social Security Disability they cannot be working; however this is not true.

Doing the SSDI Appeal Online
While the online filing process is more convenient, filing an appeal online is probably not in the best interests of most applicants, with the exception of those who have retained legal counsel.

How Long Does It Take To Get SSDI If You Have To Appeal?
If you have to appeal your Social Security Disability claim, it may take months or even years to get your disability benefits established. It all depends upon what level of the disability appeal process you are approved at.

If Your Disability Benefits Are Stopped Can You Get Them While You Appeal?
If an individual chooses to file for disability benefit continuation, they have ten days, plus the five days for mailing of the decisional notice, to request payment continuation.


The Disability reconsideration Appeal - what is it and how do you file for it?
The disability reconsideration is the first level of appeal for a denial of a Social Security Disability or SSI disability claim.

Does The Social Security Reconsideration Take as Long As The Disability Application?
Generally, reconsideration appeals do not take as much time to develop since they are basically just an update of the initial disability claim (i.e. disabilit application) information.

Reconsideration of a Social Security Disability denial- what does it involve?
If the Social Security Administration does not receive the disability appeal from you within the established appeal period (sixty days from the date of your denial), your request for reconsideration may not be granted...unless one of two things happens.

How long does it take to get an answer on a Social Security Reconsideration Appeal?
The wait for an answer on a disability claim at this level tends to be shorter than the initial claim. This is because most of the casework has already been done at the disability application level.

Do Most Social Security Disability Reconsiderations Get Turned Down?
The average national approval rate for reconsideration appeals is about ten to fifteen percent.

What happens if a reconsideration for Social Security Disability or SSI is denied?
As with the request for reconsideration, the hearing request is submitted to the Social Security office where your claim was initiated. After the request is processed, your file is transferred to the hearing office, officially known as ODAR, the office of disability adjudication and review.

How far back are Social Security Disability benefits awarded on an appeal?
Suffice it to say, back pay amounts can cover very long periods of time. And the longer a case goes on, such as when multiple appeals have been filed, the greater the amount of back pay that may be received.

Winning a Social Security Disability Appeal or SSI Appeal
The chances of winning a disability appeal are, like those of winning an initial claim, directly related to the quality of medical evidence provided to the examiner or judge making the determination.

Disability Approval Chances at the Social Security Reconsideration and Hearing Levels
Typically, most people who file for Social Security Disability (SSD) or SSI must appeal not once, but twice before they are approved.


Can you be approved for disability without having to go to a hearing?
The disability hearing is the third level of the Social Security Disability process, and while a fairly large percentage of disability applicants must go to a hearing to be approved for disability, it is certainly not the rule.

How do I request a Social Security Disability hearing - How do I file?
You may file a request for a disability hearing online, or by contacting your local social security office over the phone or in person, or, if you have a disability attorney, that individual will file and submit the necessary paperwork as well as send you copies of what has been submitted.

Basic Facts about the Administrative Law Judge Social Security Disability Hearing
This level is substantially different in that the decision is not made at DDS and does not involve a disability examiner. Instead, the decision is made by a federal judge.

Preparing for a Disability Hearing in order to Win Social Security or SSI Benefits
Proper preparation for a disability hearing will include the following.

Will a Social Security Judge give You an Immediate Decision at the Disability Hearing?
The notice of decision comes in three flavors:

Can you present evidence at a Social Security Disability or SSI hearing?
Yes, you can present evidence in the form of medical records or a statement from a physician at a disability hearing. However, this is not just an option, it is a necessity.

Can you still Appeal if the Judge denies your Disability Claim?
Yes, in fact there are two levels of appeal beyond the hearing level.

Can I get my Social Security Disability Hearing Request Expedited, Speeded up?
In some situations, this may be possible. Keep in mind, however, that each hearing office will typically only expedite a claim if a claimant can demonstrate a level of dire need.

If you appeal a Social Security Disability denial, how long does it take to receive a decision?
If you appeal your case after receiving a denial, the time frame for a new disability claim decision will be determined by which level of appeal your case is at.

Additional pages

What Are The Reasons For Social Security Disability Cases Being Denied?
There are a variety of reasons an individual's disability claim can be denied that do not involve their alleged disabling condition or conditions.

What to do (forms to complete) if you receive a Denial on a Social Security Disability or SSI Case
Along with these two forms (the SSA-3441-bk disability report and the SSA-561-U2 request for reconsideration), the claimant will need to submit signed release forms so that the social security administration can request medical records. Releases are known as form SSA-827.

If Am Medically Disabled, Can Social Security Still Turn Me Down for Disability for Some Reason?
Work activity is the only thing that can affect the eligibility of an individual for both Social Security Disability and SSI disability applicants who have gone through the disability evaluation process and been approved for disability.

How Many Times Will Social Security Disability Deny You before You Get Approved for Disability?
There is no certain amount of denials that will guarantee an approval for disability benefits and not all initial disability claimants are denied.

How Does Social Security Decide If You Are Disabled Or Not?
You may be required to attend more than one consultative examination.

What is a Social Security Disability Denial based on?
Claimants will often assume that one of a variety of factors may have been responsible for why they were denied on their disability application or appeal for disability benefits.

It is better to appeal your Social Security Disability claim denial instead of filing a new Application
Generally, it is better to appeal your claim denial instead of filing a new disability application.

How long does it take to appeal a disability case?
On average, reconsideration appeals take about 30-60 days.

The time limit for Social Security Disability and SSI Appeals
Social Security Disability appeal periods begin with the date of an individual's disability decisional notice and end sixty-five days later.

Your Chances With SSDI Disability or SSI On the First Appeal
There is nothing easy about pursuing disability with Social Security, and the first appeal level does nothing to make it any easier.

Can You Appeal A Decision By A Judge On A Social Security Disability or SSI Case?
As with all decisions made by the Social Security Administration, an administrative law judge's decision can be appealed.

Does The Social Security Disability Reconsideration Have A Time Limit?
The average time for processing a reconsideration appeal is thirty to ninety days, which is far less time than disability hearing appeals (hearings can take twelve months or longer to schedule, let alone the time required for an administrative law judge to make a decision and issue a notice of decision.

Who Makes The Social Security Disability Decision, A Judge Or A Caseworker?
Once at the state agency, disability examiners, physicians, and vocational staff are involved in making Social Security Disability decisions.

If I Request A Hearing For SSDI or SSI Disability, How Long Will I have to Wait?
You may have to wait many months to even be scheduled for a hearing. In fact, the average wait time for a hearing is twelve months or more in most parts of the country.

About the Author: Tim Moore is a former Social Security Disability Examiner in North Carolina, has been interviewed by the NY Times and the LA Times on the disability system, and is an Accredited Disability Representative (ADR) in North Carolina. For assistance on a disability application or Appeal in NC, click here.