What are the Four Levels of a Social Security Disability Appeal?

Learn more about all of the necessary steps of a social security disability appeal.

Submitting a social security disability appeal can be a daunting task. For people who aren’t familiar with bureaucracy, navigating the structure of the process can be a bit difficult. In particular, they might struggle a great deal without the help of qualified legal representation.

The first thing that you will need to know is when to actually appeal. If you are planning on filing an appeal, you must do so within 60 days from the denial. It’s very important to file for an appeal within that specific timeframe. Even more so, you should remember to do so in written form, to immortalize your record. While it is possible to call a hotline and request a physical form, the Internet currently makes the process a lot faster. You can log your appeal directly on the social security website socialsecurity.gov/disability/appeal. The website is a flexible way to apply because it also allows users to share all the relevant document online.

The process of appeal might vary, depending on your particular situation. Having said that, there is definitely a general outline, consisting of four levels of appeal. Keep reading to learn more about each of these four steps of the ladder!

These 4 steps are almost like 4 different chances to win your appeal and reverse the decision. You can think of it as having 4 different stages, where the authority will be able to reconsider your claim. It goes from local to federal jurisdiction, going from a lower to a higher-ranking authority.

These procedures often involved legal expertise. For this reason, hiring a dedicated attorney who specializes in this particular area might be the best idea. Social security benefits are particularly relevant to the lives of many people like you and their families. For this reason, it’s important not to take a gamble, and count on proper legal representation to increase your chance of a successful appeal.

If you are lucky, you are going to be able to resolve the issues quickly. However, some appeals can turn into longer battles, requiring a bit more time. Again, it really all depends on your particular situation. There are many different scenarios out there.

The Different Levels of Appeal 


This process involves a complete reconsideration of a user’s claim. This is when the evidence will be examined once again, along with any new evidence and material submitted during the appeal.

Hearing an administrative law judge

If you still do not agree with the reconsideration decision, it is possible to ask for a proper hearing, conducted by an administrative judge.

Review by the appeals council

The third step, if you still disagree with the hearing’s verdict, is to ask the Appeals Council to review your case.

Federal court review

This is the last step involves filing a lawsuit in a federal district court, if you didn’t have luck with the Appeals Council as well.

Contact the experts at The Disability Champions for a FREE no obligation consultation to simplify your life and discuss your appeal today.

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