SSA logo: link to Social Security Online home2013. Review by the Appeals Council

2013.1 When is a review by the Appeals Council requested?

You or any other party to the hearing decision may file a request for review by the Appeals Council if you disagree with the hearing decision or with the dismissal of the hearing request.

2013.2 What does the Appeals Council do when it receives a request?

The Appeals Council may:

  1. Deny or dismiss the request; or

  2. Grant the request and either issue a decision or remand the case to an ALJ.

2013.3 How should a request for a review by the Appeals Council be filed?

Your request for a review by the Appeals Council must be in writing. It must be filed within 60 days after the date you or your representative receive notice of the ALJ's action. The request for review may be filed with any Social Security office, at a hearing office, or directly with the Appeals Council. The request can be made by letter or on a special form, HA-520 Request for Review of Hearing Decision/Order, which is available online at: or at any Social Security office. (See §2000, §2001, and §2015.)

2013.4 When may the Appeals Council decide to review a decision or dismissal without a party or party's representative filing a request for review?

Within 60 days after the date of the ALJ's decision or order of dismissal, the Appeals Council may on its own initiative (motion) decide to review the action that was taken.

2013.5 How is notice of the own motion review provided?

Notice of this review is mailed to all parties at the last known address.

2013.6 When does the Appeals Council review a case?

The Appeals Council will review a case if:

  1. There appears to be an abuse of discretion by the ALJ;

  2. There is an error of law;

  3. The action, findings, or conclusions of the ALJ are not supported by substantial evidence;

  4. There is a broad policy or procedural issue that may affect the general public interest; or

  5. New and material evidence is submitted, the evidence submitted relates to the period on or before the date of the ALJ decision, and the Appeals Council finds that the ALJ's action, findings, or conclusion is/are contrary to the weight of the evidence currently of record.

Last Revised: Nov. 30, 2010