Hearings and Appeals

The Administrative Review Process

If a person disagrees with a decision made on a claim for Social Security benefits or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) claim, there are several administrative appeal steps they may follow. Appeals must be requested in writing, within specified time periods. All letters sent to claimants contain the specific information needed to appeal.

There are four basic appeal steps:

  1. After an initial decision, a person may request a reconsideration, which is a reexamination of the record.  A reconsideration applies in all cases except for initial disability cases filed in New York State.  For these disability cases, a person can request a hearing before an administrative law judge after the initial decision.
  2. If a person still disagrees, he or she may request a hearing before an administrative law judge of the Office of Disability Adjudication and Review. (See below for more information).
  3. If a person disagrees with the administrative law judge's decision, he or she may request a review by the Appeals Council.
  4. After the Appeals Council review, a person who is still dissatisfied may file a civil action in a Federal district court.

Requests for reconsideration, hearings, and Appeals Council reviews should, in general, be requested through our network of local field offices. To obtain information concerning your local field office, you may use our Social Security Office Locator. If you filed for Social Security disability benefits or SSI and your claim was denied for medical reasons, you may request an appeal on our website,

More information about the Hearings and Appeals process.

Administrative Law Judge Hearing

Before the hearing, a person, or his or her representative, may review all the evidence in his or her own application file, or may submit any new evidence you want the administrative law judge to consider.

At the hearing, the judge explains the issues in your case, may question you and any witnesses you bring to the hearing, or may request that other witnesses (a doctor or a vocational expert) come to the hearing. The hearing is recorded.

After the hearing, the judge issues a written decision after studying all the evidence.

Offices of Disability Adjudication and Review

In the New York region, there are currently 16 Offices of Disability Adjudication and Review with a total staff of 685, including the administrative law judges, staff attorneys, decision writers, paralegal and clerical staff. Additionally, administrative law judges may use video technology at other sites such as local Social Security offices to conduct hearings if needed.

You can find more information about the New York Region Hearings Offices at our Hearing Office Locator page.

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