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Initial determinations

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

2721. Initial determinations

2721.1 What are initial determinations?

Initial determinations are the first decisions that we make in response to your application to qualify for and become entitled to SVB. They are also decisions that we make on whether you can continue to receive SVB based on events that occur after your entitlement. Initial determinations generally involve your qualification for and entitlement to SVB, the amount of your SVB benefit, and your residence outside the United States. See §2002.

2721.2 How do we notify you when we make an initial determination?

We notify you of our initial determination by mail. In our notice, we will tell you the reasons for, and the effects of, our determination. We will also advise you of your right to appeal if you do not agree with our determination.

2721.3 What should you do if you are not satisfied with our initial determination?

We offer several independent reviews of your case if you are not satisfied with our initial determination. Each review is a separate step in the administrative appeals process. You must request a review within specified time limits. However, we may extend the time limit if you establish that you had a good reason for not requesting a review timely (as explained in section 2727). If you do not request the next review step within the time limit, our decision becomes final and binding (except as explained in section 2728).

In determining if your request was made within the time limit, we generally presume that you received our notice no later than 5 days following the date of the notice. However, we will not make this assumption if you establish that you received the notice later or you did not receive it at all.

Your request can be filed at any of the offices listed in section 2709.

2721.4 What decision can you appeal?

You have a legal right to appeal our initial determinations (per 2721.1 in this section). You do not have a legal right to appeal other matters. However, we may, at our discretion, review, reopen and revise our initial (or appellate) determinations.

Last Revised: Apr. 18, 2006

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