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The first appeal in a social security disability or SSI case

Everyone who files for social security disability (SSD) or supplemental security income (SSI) is entitled to file an appeal if their claim is denied by social security. To file an appeal with social security, simply call the social security office and tell them that you wish to file a disability appeal request. Be sure to do this immediately upon receiving your notice of denial. If you wait longer than 60 days to file, you lose your right to appeal and must start the entire process over with a new claim.

After you inform the social security administration (SSA) of your intent to appeal, they will send you the necessary forms to complete. Fill them out and send them back to them as soon as possible so as not to delay a decision in your case.

If you have retained a disability attorney and notify his or her office that you want to appeal, that individual should handle all of the paperwork for you. The first appeal in a disability matter is called a request for reconsideration, and, unfortunately, reconsideration appeals are decided by the same agency that denied the disability application, which is your state disability determination services (DDS) agency. DDS, of course, is the agency that makes decisions on disability claims for the social security administration.

Not surprisingly, most first appeals are unsuccessful; about 81% of all reconsideration appeals are turned down. Certainly, though, if you have new information for DDS to consider, such as a new diagnosis, test results, or treatments that you did not include with your original disability application, you should send it in along with your appeal paperwork. Be sure to include all physician or medical facility contact information and dates of treatment. Anything new that you can add to your file could increase the odds that your appeal will be approved.

It takes about 3 to 4 months to receive a decision on a reconsideration appeal, but in general there is less work involved for the claimant in filing an appeal than in filing the first disability application. This is because the bulk of the work history, medical history, and medical records are already in your file at DDS, and at this point you will be adding only new evidence (if you have any).

If your first appeal is denied, you have the right to a second appeal. Again, it must be filed within 60 days, or you lose this right. The second appeal is decided by a federal disability judge rather than by a disability examiner at DDS. If you pursue your case to this second level of appeal, your chances of approval rise considerably, particularly if you are represented by a disability attorney. About 60% of all disability denials are overturned by judges when the claimant has legal representation at the hearing.

Be aware that it can take a long time to receive a final decision on a disability hearing. Current case backlogs across the country could mean a wait of 1 to 2 years before your hearing is even scheduled, and then a wait of several more weeks after the hearing to receive a decisional notice in your case.

If you receive a disability denial, you should strongly consider at least speaking to a qualified disability attorney before filing an appeal. Most disability lawyers offer free first-time consults, and they can be very helpful when it comes to appealing disability denials, and may be the key to a successful outcome in any disability hearing.

  • What medical conditions will get you approved for disability?

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  • Which conditions will social security recognize as a disability?

  • Tips for getting Social Security Disability or SSI benefits approved

  • SSDRC Homepage:

    Social Security Disability and SSI Resource Center

    The Most Basic questions about Getting Disability Benefits

    Social Security Disability SSI and whether or not you can work

    Common Mistakes to avoid after being denied for Disability

    Social Security Disability SSI Questions and Answers

    More Social Security Disability SSI Questions and Answers

    Common Questions about Social Security Disability and SSI

    Winning Social Security Disability or SSI Benefits

    The SSI Disability Benefits Program

    Social Security Disability SSI and Doctors - Yours and Theirs

    Social Security Disability and SSI Claim Reviews

    Social Security Disability SSI System and Benefits for Children

    Denials, Appeals, and Getting a Disability Lawyer or Representative

    What you should know about Social Security Disability and SSI Denials

    Questions about Disability Lawyers and Hiring a Disability Attorney

    Various Types of Benefits including SSI, Mental, and Child benefits

    Social Security and SSI based on Mental Disability

    Social Security Disability or SSI Benefits for Children

    Disability Benefits through Social Security

    Filing for Social Security Disability or SSI Benefits

    Social Security Disability SSI: Medical Evidence and Records

    Filing your claim for disability benefits

    Eligibility for receiving disability benefits

    Resources on this site

    Social Security Disability, SSI Terms and Definitions

    Previously answered questions regarding SSD and SSI

    The SSDRC Disability Blog

    For Individuals living in North Carolina

    Disability in North Carolina

    North Carolina Disability Lawyer

    Getting disability in North Carolina

    Questions and Answers about Social Security Disability and SSI Disability

    1. Filing a Disability Appeal in Texas

    2. How Can I Get Social Security Disability If I Have Not Worked For A Long Time?

    3. If You Get Denied For Disability Should You appeal Or file A New Claim?

    4. Does Social Security Like Current Medical Records?

    5. How Likely Is It That A Social Security Disability Claim Will Be Won Prior To The Hearing Level?

    6. How Long Are You Given To Appeal Your Social Security Disability Denial?

    7. Will my doctor charge me for a letter for my social security disability claim?

    8. What is the Chance of Winning an SSA appeal for disability?

    9. How Do You Fire a Social Security Disability Lawyer?

    10. Does Social Security Disability Have a Time Limit?

    11. Will Coronary Artery Heart Disease qualify you for disability?

    12. Social Security Disability Re-evaluations

    13. Social Security Disability Fee and What a Lawyer is Paid

    14. If Social Security Disability sends you to an Exam, will it be done by your doctor?

    15. Do I Need a Lawyer for My Social Security Disability Hearing?

    16. What Does Social Security Include As Your Past Work?

    17. How Many Times Will Social Security Disability Deny You before You Get Approved?

    18. Do I Have A Good Chance Of Winning Social Security Disability On Appeal?