November 21, 2018


You filed all the proper paper work and waited months to start receiving your social security disability, only to have the Social Security Administration deny your claim.  Fortunately, you have the right to appeal any decision Social Security makes regarding your SSD or SSI.


The first step in the appeals process is called a ‘reconsideration determination’. You will receive a new decision by someone who had no part in the first decision. The Social Security Administration (SSA) will send you a letter explaining how they made the decision. It is very difficult to get SSA to change their minds in a reconsideration request unless there is substantial medical information that was not received or considered during the initial determination.

If you disagree with the reconsideration decision, you have the right to a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ).

The hearing process begins after an applicant for benefits has been denied at the initial and (in most states) reconsideration levels. The ALJ will make a decision based on the evidence, including your testimony at the hearing. The decision is a “de novo” determination; that is, the Judge will not assume that the prior denial of your claim by SSA is correct. You and your attorney will have an opportunity to submit updated or new evidence and testimony for the ALJ’s consideration.

The way a Judge decides your claim is discussed in another article titled “The 5 Steps a Judge Uses to Decide Your Social Security Appeal’.


Generally, you have

1.   60 days from the date your initial disability application is denied to appeal and file for reconsideration, and

2.   60 days from the date you receive the notice of the reconsideration decision to appeal and request a hearing before the ALJ.

  • If you do not file an appeal timely, the ALJ may dismiss your appeal.
  • You must have a good reason if you waited more than 60 days to request an appeal and must request that the Social Security Administration extend the time limit.

You can file an appeal by yourself or hire an experienced attorney to handle your appeal, who only gets paid if your appeal is successful.


The attorneys at Hoffman, Larin & Agnetti have been fighting for the rights of South Floridians for over 35 years. Our expertise in Social Security Law has helped our clients receive the benefits they deserve. Call us  at 305-653-5555 for a Free, no obligation review of your case.