How Do I Write a Social Security Disability Appeal Letter?

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Question

Can I send Social Security a handwritten letter that I want to appeal the denial of my disability benefits?

Answer

Social Security regulations allow you to indicate that you wish to appeal your disability denial with any type of written letter or note that states that you wish to appeal the denial of your disability claim. However, a disability appeal letter alone doesn't give Social Security all the information it needs for a disability claim appeal. Social Security has a disability appeal process that requires that the proper disability report forms be completed and returned prior to the appeal's being forwarded to the proper disability decision-making agency. (For a reconsideration, the appeal will go to the state disability determination (DDS) offices; for an ALJ hearing, the appeal will go to the disability hearings offices (ODAR, or the Office of Disability Adjudication and Review.)

If you write an appeal letter, you have indicated only that you wish to appeal your disability denial. If you don't complete your appeal disability report form and, in the case of reconsideration appeals, sign and return medical release forms, your disability appeal can be denied for failure to cooperate. Rather than write a letter, you should use Social Security's forms to request an appeal, or do it online. Learn about the details in our article on how to start an appeal.

Updated by: , J.D.

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