If you disagree with the reconsideration decision, you may ask for a hearing. The hearing will be conducted by an administrative law judge who had no part in the first decision or the reconsideration of your case.
The hearing is usually held within 75 miles of your home. The administrative law judge will notify you of the time and place of the hearing.
You and your representative, if you have one, may come to the hearing and explain your case in person. You may look at the information in your file and give new information.
The administrative law judge will question you and any witnesses you bring to the hearing. You or your representative also may question the witnesses.
It is usually to your advantage to attend the hearing. If you don’t wish to do so, you must tell us in writing that you don’t want to attend. Unless the administrative law judge believes your presence is needed to decide the case, he or she will make a decision based on all the information in your case, including any new information given.
After the hearing, the Social Security Administration will send you a letter and a copy of the administrative law judge’s decision.
If you disagree with the hearing decision, you may ask for a review by Social Security’s Appeals Council.
The Appeals Council looks at all requests for review, but it may deny a request if it believes the hearing decision was correct. If the Appeals Council decides to review your case, it will either decide your case itself or return it to an administrative law judge for further review. You will receive a copy of the Appeals Council’s decision or order sending it back to an administrative law judge.
If you disagree with the Appeals Council’s decision or if the Appeals Council decides not to review your case, you may file a lawsuit in a federal district court.