This toolkit combines articles from the SOARWorks website as well as other materials into one comprehensive resource about the Social Security Administration (SSA) appeals process.

While we do our best to help eligible individuals get approved on the initial application, sometimes the application is denied and we need to help someone through the appeals process. This article provides an overview of the several levels of appeals and the steps to take to file an appeal. 

Under certain circumstances, the SOAR representative can request that a case be referred back to DDS for a Prehearing Review or that the Office of Hearing Operations (OHO) make an On-the Record (OTR) decision prior to an ALJ Hearing. These proactive requests by the SOAR representative can avoid lengthy wait-times for a hearing allowing the applicant to obtain benefits sooner. As well, when OHO feels they can make a fully favorable decision without holding a hearing, they can independently refer a case back to DDS and/or make an (OTR) decision.

The Social Security Administration now offers a video option for Administrative Law Judge appeal hearings.

If Social Security denied your application for disability benefits, you may request an appeal. Social Security has four appeal levels. This article discusses the Reconsideration and Hearing by Administrative Law Judge levels.

Online access to SOAR applicants’ electronic folders or eFolders (EFs) is now available for Appointed Representatives with ALJ hearing and Appeals Council level cases. 

Here are some FAQs about Continuing Disability Reviews (CDR) associated with the SOAR TA Center's 2014 Webinar, "SOAR Representation with CDRs."

Once an applicant receives notice of a denial and decides to appeal the decision, SOAR case workers can help prepare and assist with the appeal. This article discusses how to file appeals online, using iAppeals. 

The Social Security Administration (SSA) keeps all new disability files in electronic format. Applicants and authorized representatives have the right to obtain relevant application information on a CD-ROM. When you are preparing to appeal a denial of disability benefits, you should request the case file so that you can review key components of the file and decision.

When you are preparing to appeal a denial of disability benefits, the first thing you should do is request the case file so that you can review key components of the file and decision! 

This article explains how you can promote SOAR with your Social Security Administration (SSA) Office of Hearings Operations (OHO) office to help ease their backlog and workload issues, while at the same time, improving access to expedited decisions for SOAR applicants.

Here are some tips from the SOAR TA Center on assisting an applicant with a pending application or an appeal.


On this webinar, held on June 18, 2020, we introduced our updated SOAR Appeals Toolkit and guest speakers offered practice tips on effectively representing SOAR applicants with appeals.

This webinar, held on June 22, 2016, is designed for SOAR practitioners to continue building their "ALJ Hearing Toolbox."

This webinar, held on June 25, 2015, provided the tips and tools necessary to understand SSA’s Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) hearing process. 

Issue Briefs

This issue brief, developed by the SAMHSA SOAR TA Center, provides basic information and practical tips on assisting with appeals for applicants who have been denied at the initial application level.

SOAR Voices

SOAR Voices Blogs

There are currently no blogs for this topic.