December 14, 2018

Social Security Disability Hearings

You have the right to appeal a decision of the Social Security Administration denying you Social Security Disability (SSDI) benefits or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits. Hoffman, Larin & Agnetti PA will review your case at no cost and file your appeal if it has merit.

The Social Security disability insurance program pays benefits under two programs:

  • The Social Security Disability (SSD) insurance program pays benefits to you and certain family members if you have worked long enough and have paid Social Security taxes for the required number of quarters. If you qualify for SSD, the Social Security Administration will calculate you monthly benefit based upon your contributions. SSD recipients are also entitled to Medicare.
  • The Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program pays benefits to disabled adults and children who have limited income and resources and have not made sufficient contribution to qualify for SSD. SSI recipients are entitled to Medicaid.

The first level of appeal is called a request for reconsideration . 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 after 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 ALJ will make an independent 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 denials 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.


Generally, you have 60 days after you receive the notice of the reconsideration decision to ask for any type of appeal.

  • In counting the 60 days, SSA presumes that you receive the notice five days after we mail it unless you can show that you received it later.
  • If you do not file an appeal timely, the ALJ may dismiss your appeal. This means that you may not be eligible for the next step in the appeal process and that you may also lose your right to any further review.
  • You must have a good reason if you wait more than 60 days to request an appeal. If you file an appeal after the deadline, you must explain the reason you are late and request that we extend the time limit. The people in the Social Security office can explain further and help you file a written request to extend the time limit.

At Hoffman, Larin & Agnetti PA we offer a free consultation by phone or in person at our offices throughout South Florida (Miami-Dade, Monroe County, including Key West and the Upper Keys, Broward County/Fort Lauderdale). Call us at 800-803-5555.