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Appeals Council Procedures

Excerpted from "Social Security Handbook". See the up-to-date, official Social Security Handbook at

2014. Appeals Council Procedures

2014.1 What are the steps in the appeals process?

The steps in the appeals process are as follows:

  1. The Appeals Council notifies you whether it will review the case.

  2. If the Council decides to review the case, you or your representative may request an appearance before the Council for the presentation of oral arguments.

  3. If the Appeals Council determines that a significant question of law or policy is presented or that oral arguments would be beneficial in rendering a proper decision, the appearance will be granted.

  4. You may also file written statements in support your claim. The Appeals Council will notify you of its action in the case.

2014.2 What action may a claimant take if dissatisfied with the Appeals Council's action?

If you are dissatisfied with the decision of the Appeals Council or denial of the request for review of the ALJ's decision by the Appeals Council, you may bring suit in a Federal district court.

2014.3 When must a civil action be filed?

The civil action in the court must be filed within 60 days after the date of receipt of the notice of the Appeals Council decision or denial of the request for review.

2014.4 What actions may the court take?

The court may enter a judgment affirming, modifying, or reversing our decision, with or without sending the case back to us. Under certain circumstances, the court may return the case to us so we can take additional evidence before the court enters a judgment.

There is no right to court review where the Appeals Council has dismissed a request for review, or denied a request for review of an ALJ's dismissal.

Last Revised: Jul. 26, 2005



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