Social Security Disability Appeals

You have the right to appeal any decision Social Security makes as to your entitlement to Social Security benefits or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments.

The first step in the appeals process is called a reconsideration determination. You will receive a new decision by someone who had no part in the first decision. The Social Security Administration (SSA) will send you a letter explaining how they made the decision. It is very difficult to get SSA to change their minds in a reconsideration request unless there is substantial medical information that was not received or considered during the initial determination.

If you disagree with the reconsideration decision, you have the right to a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ).

The hearing process begins after an applicant for benefits has been denied at the initial and (in most states) reconsideration levels. The ALJ will make an independent decision based on the evidence, including your testimony at the hearing. The decision is a “de novo” determination, that is, the Judge will not assume that the prior denial of your claim by SSA is correct. You and your attorney will have an opportunity to submit updated or new evidence and testimony for the ALJ’s consideration.

The way a Judge decides your claim is discussed in another article titled “Are You Disabled?


Generally, you have

1.   60 days from the date your initial disability application is denied to appeal and file for reconsideration, and

2.   60 days from the date you receive the notice of the reconsideration decision to appeal and request a hearing before the ALJ.

  • If you do not file an appeal in a timely manner, the ALJ may dismiss your appeal.
  • You must have a good reason if you waited more than 60 days to request an appeal and must request that the Social Security Administration extend the time limit.

Social Security law is complex; at Hoffman, Larin and Agnetti, PA we offer a free consultation so that you can learn your rights. There are no fees for representation before the Social Security Administration in disability claims, unless we win. We have offices throughout south Florida in Dade, Broward and Monroe Counties for your convenience. Call us at 305-653-5555