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Home » Glossary » Appeal

Definition of Appeal

If a claimant has their Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) application denied at the application level they have the legal right, under some conditions, to file an appeal. The first appeal within the SSA system is called the reconsideration. The reconsideration allows a second disability examiner, who was not involved with the first decision, to review the disability application a second time and make a second disability determination. The reconsideration must be requested within 60 days from the date of the SSA denial letter.

If the disability application is denied a second time by the Social Security Administration, the claimant can request an administrative hearing. This is the second step in the SSA disability appeals process. An administrative hearing allows an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) to review the claimant's case, including any additional evidence submitted by the claimant. After the ALJ reviews all of the evidence they will determine if the claimant is disabled.

If the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) denies the disability case the claimant may file an appeal with the Appeal's Council. This is the last appeal step within the SSA system. The Appeal's Council can choose to review the case, remand it back to the Administrative Law Judge, or refuse to review it. All subsequent challenges must be made outside of the SSA system by filing a civil case in federal court.

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