Hearings and Appeals

12/12

What do I do if I have missed the deadline to file my hearing request?

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We understand that the COVID-19 pandemic may create situations that constitute good cause for failing to timely file your request for hearing after receiving a prior denial on your claim. To assist you in providing an explanation for why you have missed the deadline to request a hearing during the pandemic, we will mail you a notice requesting a written explanation for the untimely filing if you have not already provided an explanation. This notice will give you an opportunity to explain why you were unable to file your hearing request on time. Although the notice we use to request a showing of good cause for untimely filing (i.e., Form HA-L61) identifies a shorter timeframe for a response, we will provide 30 days from the date on the request before we will issue a dismissal, to account for potential mail delivery and processing delays.

What do I do if I miss my hearing?

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If you missed your hearing time, please call the hearing office right away at the phone number listed on your Notice of Hearing. If you do not have your Notice of Hearing, you can find your local hearing office phone number by visiting our Hearing Office Locator.

We understand that the COVID-19 pandemic may create situations that constitute good cause for failing to appear at your scheduled hearing. To assist you in explaining why you have missed your hearing date during the pandemic, we will mail you a notice (called a “Request to Show Cause for Failure to Appear”). This notice will give you an opportunity to explain why you did not appear for your telephone hearing. Although the notice we use to request a showing of good cause for failure to appear (i.e., Form HA-L90) identifies a shorter timeframe for a response, we will provide 30 days from the date on the request before we will issue a dismissal, to account for potential mail delivery and processing delays.

How can I file an appeal if Social Security offices are closed for walk-in service?

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Online at SSA.gov

The quickest and easiest way to file an appeal is online at our Appeal a Decision page. There are four levels of appeal:

  • Request for Reconsideration (SSA-561-U2),
  • Request for Hearing by Administrative Law Judge (HA-501-U5), or
  • Request for Review of Hearing Decision/Order (HA-520-U5)
  • Federal Court review.

The letter we sent you tells you the level of appeal that you need to file. Once you select the appropriate appeal, follow the online instructions to complete and submit it electronically.

Mail or Fax a completed form

You may also send us a completed appeal form for reconsideration, hearing by an administrative law judge, or review of hearing decision/order by fax or mail. You can download the appeal forms from our forms webpage, complete, print, and then mail or fax the form to your local Social Security office. You can find the local office fax number and address from the Social Security Office Locator page by entering your ZIP code. Follow the instructions on the Appeal a Decision page for the Federal Court review.

If you still have questions about sending us an appeal online, by mail, or fax, please call 1-800-772-1213 or call your local office. You can find the telephone number for your local office in the letter we sent you or by going to the Social Security Office Locator page and entering your zip code. We can answer your questions and send you the appropriate appeal request form to complete and send back to us.

I did not file my appeal because Social Security offices are closed to the public due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and I am now past the date for filing my appeal. Can I still file an appeal?

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Yes, you may still file an appeal request. When you fill out your appeal request, be sure to include a statement explaining the delay in filing your appeal. During the COVID-19 pandemic, SSA will extend good cause for late filing in many situations.

I received a letter from Social Security that says my Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payment will change unless I file an appeal within 10 days. How can I file this appeal if Social Security offices are closed to the public?

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Online at SSA.gov

The quickest and easiest way to file an appeal is online at our Appeal a Decision page. Select “Reconsideration” and then the “Request Non-Medical Reconsideration” button. Follow the instructions on the screens to complete and submit the appeal electronically.

Send Us a Form by Mail or Fax

You may also download, complete, and print the form Request for Reconsideration (SSA-561-U2) and then mail the completed form to your local Social Security office. You can find the local office fax number and address from the Social Security Office Locator page by entering your ZIP code.

If you still have questions about filing an appeal on online, by mail, or fax, please call us at 1-800-772-1213 or call your local office. You can find the telephone number for your local office in the letter we sent you or by going to the Social Security Office Locator page and entering your zip code. We can answer your questions and send you the appropriate appeal request form to complete and send back to us.

My Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payment has changed or stopped. I did not receive a letter in advance, or I did receive a letter, but it is now more than 10 days since I received the letter. What can I do?

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You can still file an appeal by taking one of the following actions.

Online at SSA.gov

The quickest and easiest way to file an appeal is online at our Appeal a Decision page. Select “Reconsideration” and then the “Request Non-Medical Reconsideration” button.Follow the instructions on the screens to complete and submit the appeal electronically. When you file your appeal, be sure to include a statement on the appeal request (or on a separate sheet of paper that you include with the appeal request) that explains why you are filing your request late.

Send Us a Form by Mail

You may also download, complete, and print the form Request for Reconsideration (SSA-561-U2) and then mail the completed form to your local Social Security office. You can find the address for your local office in the letter we sent you or by going to the Social Security Office Locator page by entering your ZIP code. When you file your appeal, be sure to include a statement on the appeal request (or on a separate sheet of paper that you include with the appeal request) that explains why you are filing your request late.

If you still have questions about filing an appeal online, by mail, or fax, please call us at 1-800-772-1213 or call your local office. You can find the telephone number for your local office in the letter we sent you or by going to the Social Security Office Locator page and entering your zip code. We can answer your questions and send you the appropriate appeal request form for you to complete and then send back to us.

Am I required to have my hearing by telephone or by online video?

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No. Telephone or online video hearings are not mandatory; however, as our hearing offices will remain closed for the foreseeable future, we encourage you to consider a telephone or an online video hearing if you cannot wait for an answer on your claim. When our hearing office staff contacts you or your representative in advance of the hearing, you may agree to a telephone hearing, an online video hearing, or ask us to postpone your hearing. If you do not want a telephone or an online video hearing and you ask us to postpone, please be aware that we do not have an estimate of when we will be able to hold your hearing. If you initially decline our offer for a telephone or an online video hearing and later change your mind, please contact your local hearing office to have your hearing scheduled.

How can I prepare for my telephone or online video hearing?

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Just like for an in-person or video hearing, there will be a number of participants on the telephone or online video hearing with you: you, your representative (if you are represented), the administrative law judge (ALJ), and a hearing reporter who will record and monitor the hearing. There may be other participants on the line as well, such as a vocational expert, medical expert, or interpreter.

For detailed information on how to prepare for your telephone hearing and what to expect during your hearing, visit https://www.ssa.gov/appeals/hearing_phone.html.

For detailed information on how to prepare for your online video hearing and what to expect during your hearing, visit https://www.ssa.gov/appeals/hearing_video.html. In addition, visit the Online Video Hearing Lobby to set up your device before your online video hearing. For assistance, reference the Online Video Hearing User Guide.

How will your offices acquire consent for participating in the hearing?

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  • At this time, Administrative Law Judges (ALJs) are only able to conduct hearings by telephone and online video until we resume our standard operations.
  • For hearing requests filed on or after December 7, 2020, we will send a special notice 30 days after we acknowledge receipt of the claimant’s hearing request.
  • With this notice, we will include a form to confirm if you agree to appear at your hearing by telephone or by online video. The notice will provide instructions on how and when to return this form to us.
  • The claimant’s appointed representative may sign the form in lieu of the claimant.
  • We also will accept a verbal agreement to appear by telephone or online video.
  • We will not schedule, or proceed with a hearing by telephone or online video unless we receive the claimant’s consent. If the claimant does not consent to appear by telephone or online video, we will not schedule the hearing at this time, or if already scheduled, we will postpone the hearing until we can offer another option, such as a hearing in person, as appropriate.

If your offices are not conducting in-person hearings, will I still have my hearing?

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Yes. Our hearing offices will be closed to the public for the foreseeable future, and we will not be offering in-person service. However, we are able to conduct hearings by telephone and online video. We encourage people who need a decision on their claim to agree to a telephone or an online video hearing. To learn more about hearings options offered during this time, visit https://www.ssa.gov/appeals/hearing_options.html.

Subscribe to the SSA Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) page to get updates on SSA services such as online video hearings during the COVID-19 crisis.

Will I still have my hearing with the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) who was assigned to my case?

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Generally, yes. Our ALJs are available to hold telephone and online video hearings. In the event a technical difficulty arises before your hearing and we need to reassign your case to another ALJ, we will follow our typical instructions on backfilling, which are available in HALLEX I-2-1-55F.

How can I communicate with my local hearing office?

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You can communicate with your local hearing office by telephone, fax, and e-Fax.

Via telephone:

Our hearing office employees continue to answer our general inquiry lines during regular business hours for local hearing offices and can help you with the following matters:

  • Confirming your availability for a telephone hearing;
  • Documenting that you would like a postponement if you would prefer to wait until an in-person or video hearing is available;
  • Updating your records to ensure we have the appropriate telephone number and address; and
  • Providing status for your pending hearing.

You can find your local hearing office phone number by accessing our Hearing Office Locator.

Via fax or e-Fax:

Claimants and representatives can send us documents by fax machine or by their own e-fax solution. Sending documents to us via fax delivers a secure, electronic copy to the specific hearing office’s designated email inbox. To submit documents electronically via fax, simply use the toll-free fax number with area code “833” assigned to the servicing hearing office. You can find your local hearing office phone number by accessing our Hearing Office Locator.