Federal Court Review Process

If you disagree with the Appeals Council's decision, or if the Appeals Council decides not to review your case, you can file a civil suit in a federal district court.  This is the last level of the appeals process. 

The civil action is filed in the district court of the United States for the judicial district in which you reside or where you have your principal place of business. If you do not reside within any such judicial district or if you do not have your principal place of business within any such judicial district, the civil action must be filed in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. There is a charge for filing a civil action in Federal court.

As explained in detail in the notice you receive from the Appeals Council, if you file a civil action, you must send us copies of the complaint you filed and of the summons issued by the court. These copies must be sent by certified or registered mail to the Social Security Administration's Office of the General Counsel that handles the area where the complaint is filed. For information on the office associated with your area, see POMS GN 03106.020 Service of Process.

Time Limits to File Civil Action

If the Appeals Council denies your request for review or issues an unfavorable decision, you may file a civil action in U.S. District Court within 60 days after you receive notice of the Council's action in the case. ODAR prepares the certified record for the Courts in such cases.

General Statistics on Civil Actions

We had 1,213 new court cases pending at the end of fiscal year 2012(September 2012).

We received 16,422 new court cases during fiscal year 2012 (October 2011 - September 2012).

We processed 15,491 new court cases during fiscal year 2012 (October 2011 - September 2012).