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What if I disagree with Social Security's calculation of my benefit amount?

If you believe the Social Security Administration miscalculated your benefit, you have the right to appeal the decision. You must submit the appeal request within 60 days of receiving the initial letter from Social Security stating your benefit amount.

You can file an appeal online or in writing. In the latter case, you'll need to fill out an SSA-561 "Request for Reconsideration" form, which you can download from the Social Security website, and send it to your local Social Security office.

There are four levels of appeal. If you disagree with the decision at one level, you can seek redress at the next.

  1. Reconsideration, in which a Social Security official not involved in the original decision reviews the case, including any new evidence
  2. A hearing before an administrative law judge
  3. A review through Social Security's Appeals Council
  4. A lawsuit in federal court

Keep in mind

A benefit that seems low could be the result of mistakes in your earnings history on file with Social Security. You can check your earnings record at any time if you have a My Social Security account. If you believe there is incorrect or missing information in your record, call 800-772-1213 to request a correction.

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Published February 21, 2020