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 live or where you have your principal place of business. If you do not live within a judicial district or if you do not have your principal place of business within a judicial district, the civil action must be filed in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. There is a fee 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 Program Operations Manual System 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. The Office of Appellate Operations prepares the certified record for the Courts in such cases.

General Statistics on Civil Actions

We received 19,454 new court cases during fiscal year 2020 (October 2019 - September 2020).

We processed 11,874 new court cases during fiscal year 2020 (October 2019 - September 2020).