En español | To begin an appeal, you must make a written request to Social Security within 60 days of receiving notification of the decision that you are contesting. There are four levels of appeal: a reconsideration by Social Security staff; a hearing before an administrative law judge; a review by SSA's Appeals Council, a review in the federal courts [you can obtain reviews in both the federal district where you live as well as the Court of Appeals for that district].
You can represent yourself in these proceedings or appoint someone another person to represent you, such as a friend, relative or lawyer. However, your chances of winning are greater if you have legal representation. Your representative cannot charge you a fee unless Social Security has given written permission to do so.