Information About Social Security's Hearings and Appeals Process

The Social Security Administration's (SSA) administrative appeals operation, under the Office of Disability Adjudication and Review (ODAR) is one of the largest administrative judicial systems in the world. SSA issues more than half a million hearing and appeal dispositions each year. Administrative law judges (ALJ) conduct hearings and issue decisions. The Appeals Council considers appeals from hearing decisions, and acts as the final level of administrative review for the agency.

Choose below to obtain detailed information about the:

Chart Our Progress

Please see below for the status of our major workloads over the past several years. Additional information about SSA’s hearings and appeals process is available on the Congressional Testimony page.

Plan for Compassionate And REsponsive Service (CARES)

The plan for Compassionate And REsponsive Service (CARES) was released in January 2016. It outlined our comprehensive and multi-layered approach to deal with the immediate crisis of the growing number of hearings pending and increasing wait times. We considered the CARES plan a living document, which would change as we gained more experience with each initiative, began new initiatives, and adapted to the changes in our operational environment. Our 2017 Updated CARES and Anomaly plan builds on tactical initiative laid out in the 2016 plan. We are also introducing new initiatives. The 2017 Updated CARES and Anomaly plan remains a living document and we will post future updates as they become available.

View the 2017 Updated CARES and Anomaly Plan in PDF

View the 2016 CARES Plan in PDF