If you are denied benefits you may appeal the Social Security Administration¿s (SSA) decision. There are four stages of an appeal. The first appeal available is Reconsideration.

What Is Reconsideration?

Reconsideration is a complete review of your disability claim. Filing for reconsideration is rather simple and requires that you fill out just a few forms.

Do I Have to Appeal Immediately?

Because your appeal must be made within 60 days after receiving the SSA claim denial letter, you should begin working on your appeal immediately. If you fail to appeal within 60 days, your reconsideration will be automatically denied and you will have to file a new claim. However, if you have a good reason for missing the deadline, the SSA may waive the timeframe requirement.

How Does the Review Process Work?

Your denied claim will be reviewed by someone who did not participate in the first decision. All of the materials used to process your claim will be examined along with any new evidence.

Can I Meet with the Person Reviewing My Case?

If you are appealing a benefits claim, you cannot meet with the official reviewing your case. However, if you are appealing a SSA decision that you are no longer disabled, you have two options:

  • Meet with an officer and explain why you disagree and bring along any people that can provide medical information contradicting the SSA decision
  • Submit to a file review

When and How Will I Be Notified?

The process can take anywhere between 30 days and 6 months. The SSA will send you a letter notifying you of their decision. If your claim is denied during reconsideration, an Administrative Law Hearing would be the next step in the appeals process.

Do I Need a Lawyer?

An attorney specializing in Social Security benefits and regulations can review your denial letter and advise you if any additional documents should be submitted to strengthen your claim. If your disability is no longer recognized by the SSA, and you choose to meet with an SSA official, you may request a social security lawyer to accompany or represent you.