Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a benefit offered by the federal government. The Social Security Administration manages the program. However, not everyone qualifies for SSI benefits. Some people qualify but disagree strongly with the amount of money they receive. Have you received an SSI decision on your claim for benefits? If you disagree, can you appeal an SSI decision? The answer is, “Yes, you can.” In fact, it’s your right.
The Initial Determination
SSA decisions that you can appeal may be called “initial determinations.” Issues covered by a determination letter include, but are not limited to:
- Whether you are eligible for SSI;
- How much SSI benefit you will receive; and
- Whether you were overpaid and must return money to the SSA.
The first decision you receive from the SSA is called an initial determination. However, any determination the SSA makes after this is also called an initial determination.
When you receive this written notice from the SSA, read it carefully and show it to your attorney. The letter contains instructions on how to appeal and provides essential deadlines.
The Four Stages of Appeal
If you disagree with an SSI decision, you can begin an appeal. The SSA provides four levels of appeal:
- Reconsideration. This is a simple request for the SSA to reconsider your case. You’ll receive a notice of reconsideration determination after they have reviewed your case.
- Hearing. If you disagree with the reconsideration determination, you can request a hearing before an administrative law judge (ALJ). You can appear at a hearing in person, by video conference, or by telephone conference. The ALJ will issue a hearing decision.
- Appeals Council. If you do not agree with the hearing decision, you can ask the Appeals Council to review your claim. The Appeals Council may decide your case or return it to the ALJ for more deliberation.
- Federal Court. Finally, if the first three stages of appeal have not worked, you can file a petition with the U. S. District Court. Here, the court may send the case back to the SSA or direct the SSA to approve your claim.
Ask a Disability Lawyer if You Need to Appeal an SSI Decision
Social Security Administration rules and regulations are not easy to understand, especially when it comes to appeals. It can help to have someone on your side. The attorneys at The Law Offices of Martin Taller have more than 50 years’ experience representing clients like you. For a free consultation, call us at 714-385-8100. Though our office is located in Anaheim, we assist clients throughout Southern California.