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Requesting Reconsideration of Overpayment and Appealing

Authored By: Legal Services Alabama


If you think SSA is wrong, file a request for a reconsideration. Do it:

  • in writing at your local Social Security office.
  • within 60 days of getting the notice of the decision you disagree with.
  • within 10 days of getting the notice if you want your checks to continue unchanged.

Check a box on the reconsideration form to ask for one of the following types of review:

  1. Case Review. In a case review, a SSA worker looks at the papers in your file and makes a new decision based on this file review. If you choose this type of review, you will not get to see what is in your file. You also will not get to tell your side of the story or show any proof you may have.
  2. Informal Conference. In an informal conference, you meet with the SSA worker who decides your case. You go through your file and tell your side of the story. You can also add new information.
  3. Formal Conference. In a formal conference, you meet with the SSA worker who decides your case. You can bring witnesses to help you tell your story. You can also add new information.

Decide which type of review you want. In most cases, you will want at least an informal conference, so you can tell your story to the worker reviewing your case.

If SSA denies your request for reconsideration, you can ask for an Administrative Law Judge Hearing. Ask for the hearing in writing within 60 days after your reconsideration was turned down. To keep your benefits coming, ask within ten days. At the hearing, you will have a chance to tell the judge your side of the story. You can have an attorney, paralegal or other representative to help you at the hearing. Call Legal Services or a private lawyer or paralegal as soon as you appeal.

If you lose your hearing, you may be able to have your case reviewed by the Appeals Council. Tell the local SSA office that you want to appeal the Administrative Law Judge's decision. The Appeals Council is outside Washington, D.C. You do not have to go the Appeals Council to have your case reviewed. They will look over the records in your case to see if the judge at your hearing made a mistake. Sometimes, you have to appeal Administrative Law Judge decisions straight to court. The notice of the decision will say this.

If you lose at the Appeals Council level, you can take your case to court. You will need a lawyer to do this.

Reviewed February 2003 offers legal information, not legal advice. This website provides information on your rights and options. However, the site does not apply the law to your personal facts. For legal advice, you should call a lawyer. To apply for free legal services in Alabama, call the Legal Services Alabama office that is closest to where you live OR call toll-free 1-866-456-4995. You can also apply online HERE.

Last Review and Update: Feb 27, 2003
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