What To Do If Your Claim Is Denied
The Social Security Administration provides for several types of appeals:
(1) If the Social Security office denies your claim for benefits, you can appeal by requesting reconsideration. (In some Social Security Administration offices this form of appeal is not used).
(2) If your request for reconsideration is denied, you can appeal by requesting a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ).
(3) If the Administrative Law Judge does not award benefits, you can appeal to the Appeals Council.
Whenever you appeal, you must do so in writing, and mail your appeal within 60 days. Keep a copy of any letter or other document you send in to appeal. Mail that document certified mail, return receipt requested--that way you can prove that you filed the appeal.
Both the Social Security Administration Resources ( The Appeals Process, Your Right To Question The Decision Made On Your Claim, Your Right to Question the Decision Made on Your SSI Claim) and private organizations have prepared explanations of the appeal process. A somewhat different appeals process exists in Alabama, Alaska, Colorado, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Albany, New York City, and North and West Los Angeles. A summary of the appeals process is available in Spanish. You can also appeal if the Social Security Administration terminates your benefits.