Appeal Your Denial

Most people are denied several times before being awarded their benefits.  Do not miss your appeal deadlines.  Preserve your claim.


Six to nine months after applying for benefits you will receive your first denial - denial after Initial Determination.  Social Security has requested the medical records you told them about and had them evaluated by state agency doctors.  Based on their recommendations your claim was approved or denied.  

You have sixty (60) days after receiving notice of your denial to appeal. 


To appeal you must Request Reconsideration of your claim.  You can request reconsideration online or by sending in form SSA 561.  To complete your appeal, you will also have to fill out form SSA 3441.  You also have to re-authorize Social Security to obtain your medical records by re-signing the form SSA 827.

You may be sent out for a medical evaluation by their doctors after requesting reconsideration. 


If you haven't obtained representation, this is the time to call a disability expert.  To have me appeal your initial denial, send me an email.


After your first appeal, Social Security will obtain the additional medical records you told them about and have them reviewed by their doctors.  This reconsideration of your claim usually takes three or four months.

If you are denied after reconsideration, you have sixty (60) days to appeal.  To appeal your denial you must request a Hearing before an Administrative Law Judge.


Request a hearing by filling out and returning the form HA 501

After you request a hearing before a judge your case will be assigned to a judge, and you will receive notice of your upcoming hearing (usually within nine to twelve months). 


This is the time to get your evidence in -  updated medical records, testimonial statements, doctor's letters, and any other records you need to prove your disability.  The judge will refuse to consider any evidence not submitted at least five days prior to hearing ("the Five Day Rule").

Expert counsel is essential for preparing you for your hearing, helping you testify, developing and preserving your evidence record.

To have me request your hearing send me an email​.


You have sixty (60) days to appeal the hearing judge's unfavorable decision.

To appeal the judge's unfavorable decision you must request review of the decision by the Appeals Council.  You can do that by filing form SSA HA-520.   Send the completed form to:

Appeals Council, SSA/OARO
5107 Leesburg Pike
Falls Church, VA 22041-3255

You can also request Appeals Council Review online here


You can also file an appeal by calling Social Security at 1-800-772-1213.

If you do not request review of the decision within sixty days then you have missed your appeal deadline and your claim is dead. 

In your request for Appeals Council review, you can request additional time to submit more evidence or a statement why you think the judge got it wrong.

To have me file your request for review send me an email.

You have sixty (60) days to file a complaint in federal court suing the head of Social Security after you receive the notice from the Appeals Council that they have denied your request for review. 

You can find out more information about filing in federal court here.

There is a $400 filing fee that is waived for qualifying parties.  You have to file a request to waive the filing fee.  

No new evidence will be considered - only the evidence that was before the judge at hearing will be considered by the court. 

After you file and serve your complaint suing the Commissioner and the evidence is prepared, the court assigns a date for submission of your Opening Brief.  Your opening brief is a twenty page argument why the judge at hearing got it wrong. 


After briefing by both sides is complete, a federal judge decides your case. 

The entire process at federal court takes about a year from filing to decision.

To find out how to have me review your case for federal appeal send me an email.


If you have received an Order from the United States District Court affirming the hearing judge's decision, then you have sixty (60) days after to appeal to the Court of Appeals. 

Forms for appealing to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals can be found here.  

The Court of Appeals will take a fresh look at the hearing judge's unfavorable decision. 

Appealing to the United States District Court and the Court of Appeals both require legal expertise and familiarity with the applicable statutes and knowledge of how the courts have applied to laws to facts similar to the facts in your case, as well as admission to practice in that court. 


Crafting winning arguments also requires excellent reasoning and writing skills.  For over fifteen years we have provided this expertise for our clients. 


To have me review your claim for 9th Circuit appeal send me an email