The SSI program allows an applicant or beneficiary to appeal any decision concerning SSI eligibility or SSI payment amount.  Our focus, in this Toolkit, is SSA decisions that either deny an SSI application or terminate eligibility based on a find that the individual does not meet the disability criteria for the program or no longer meets that criteria. 

The written notice explains how to appeal.  If SSA decides to terminate benefits,  following a medical CDR or an Age 18 Redetermination, it must send a written notice to the beneficiary and his or her representative payee, if any. That notice must explain: 

  • that SSI benefits are being terminated based on a determination that the beneficiary no longer meets the SSI disability criteria (following a medical CDR) or is not considered disabled under adult criteria (following an Age 18 Redetermination);  

  • the effective date of the termination;  

  • steps that can be taken to request an appeal and the time limit for doing so; and  

  • the right to request that SSI benefits continue during the appeal and the time limit for doing so.   

An appeal can typically be filed by sending a letter to the address referenced in the notice or by going to an SSA office, with the notice in hand, and explaining you want to appeal that decision. 

Applicants and their families must carefully read the SSI denial or termination notice, as the method for appealing and the time limit for doing so (generally 60 days from receipt of the notice) will appear on the notice.  Also, the notice will explain how to request that SSI continue during the appeal and the time limit for requesting that (generally 10 days from receipt of the notice).

Referring to an attorney or advocate for representation on the appeal.  An SSI applicant or beneficiary who appeals an SSA decision finding the individuals is not disabled or no longer disabled would be wise to find an attorney or advocate, with experience on SSI appeals, to represent them on the appeal.  See our section on “Web-Based Resources” for tips and links that may help you find a representative from a Legal Services or Legal Aid office, from a Protection and Advocacy office, or through the bar association covering your state or region of the state. 

You should always look to refer a consumer to an attorney or advocate for representation as soon as you are aware the individual has received a notice denying their SSI application or terminating their right to continue getting SSI.
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Appealing Decisions Regarding SSI