Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a vital resource for low-income individuals who are not able to work because of a debilitating condition.
Because of this, obtaining the compensation you need is important for your wellbeing. For this reason, the Social Security Administration (SSA) allows you to appeal a decision on your claim for benefits if you disagree with a denial or if you believe you should receive more than the SSA awarded you.
The SSI Appeals Process
Requesting an appeal triggers an evaluation of the entire decision on your SSI claim, not only the portion you disagree with.
The SSI appeals process is the same as the appeals process for denied Social Security Disability Insurance and includes four steps. If the decision reached in one level is unsatisfactory to you, you can appeal to the next level.
The levels include:
Reconsideration is a complete review of your claim by someone who was not involved in the first decision. He or she will review all of the evidence for your claim, including any additional evidence that was not included in the initial claim.
Appeals of medical-related decisions will be handled in a case review through which you have a right to see your case file.
Non-medical appeals may be handled by case review or an informal or formal conference. Through an informal conference, you can meet with the case examiner and bring witnesses or an attorney to discuss what part of the decision you disagree with. A formal conference is only available if the SSA changes or stops payments, and the SSA can summon witnesses that you can question.
If you disagree with a decision made during reconsideration, you can request a hearing with an administrative law judge. Hearings are typically held within 75 miles of your location; you will be notified of the time and place.
You may be asked to offer more evidence supporting your claim, or bring witnesses, who will be questioned.
You have the option to be represented by a SSI attorney located in Arizona, who will attend the hearing with you.
If you disagree with the administrative law judge's decision, you can request a review by the Appeals Council. The Appeals Council will review the decision of the administrative judge. If the council agrees with the judge's decision, the Council may deny your claim for review.
If the Appeals Council decides to review your case, the Council will either come to a decision or require that it be reviewed by another administrative law judge.
Should you disagree with the decision of the Appeals Council or if the Court decides to forego reviewing your case, you may file a lawsuit in federal district court.
Timeframe for Filing an Appeal
Once you receive the letter informing you of your SSI decision, you typically have 60 days to appeal. This may be extended if you can prove your receipt of the letter was delayed. You may lose the right to file an appeal if you do not do so within 60 days.
In some cases, those who request an appeal within 10 days of receiving notice may have payments continued during the appeals process; you may be required to pay back funds you weren't eligible for if your appeal is denied.
Appeals can be filed in writing or online.
Right to Representation
SSI applicants have the right to be represented by an attorney during the appeals process. Your Social Security Disability attorney can act on your behalf during the appeal and will work to support your appeal to help gain a positive decision.
If your SSI claim has been denied, work with the experienced Supplemental Security Income attorneys at Dayes Law Firm PC. Our team will see you through the appeals process, working to help secure the compensation you are eligible for.