4 levels to appeal an SSI denial

Supplemental Security Income is available for people with disabilities who do not make enough income or people over 65 without disabilities who qualify based on finances.

There are four levels of appeal available after an SSI denial. If you believe you should have qualified, the denial notification letter should indicate which level of appeal is appropriate for your current situation.

1. Reconsideration

Someone who was not involved with the original decision will review your case. A fresh set of eyes will look at all the documentation you initially submitted and any new evidence you provide. You can request reconsideration for either medical or non-medical denial reasons.

2. Hearing

If the reconsideration does not go in your favor and you still disagree, the next step is requesting a hearing by an administrative law judge. As with the reconsideration, an administrative law judge who had no involvement in the prior denials will conduct the hearing. You can bring witnesses to the hearing.

3. Review by the Appeals Council

If you disagree with the outcome of the hearing, you can request that the Appeals Council review the decision. The Appeals Council can deny your request and accept the hearing decision, make a new decision about your case themselves or return your case to the hearing level for another review.

4. Federal Court

The last stop in the appeals process is a Federal Court review. If you exhaust all other appeals options, you can file a suit in federal district court.

Supplemental Security Income benefits are similar to Social Security Disability benefits, except there is no prior work requirement to qualify for SSI. The factors that determine your SSI eligibility include your disability, ability to work and financial situation.