If you feel that you were treated unfairly by the Social Security judge, you can file an “Unfair Treatment Complaint” and ask that Social Security review what happened. Someone who was not involved in your case will review your complaint and take action, if appropriate. While there is no guarantee that Social Security will find that action is needed, you will be notified before Social Security closes the matter.
Keep in mind that filing an unfair treatment complaint does not appeal the judge’s decision. If you were denied and want to appeal the denial, you still need to complete an appeal. At the time of this writing, the form to appeal a hearing denial is the “Request for Review of Hearing Decision/Order.” However, the decision should describe the form(s) and process to follow to appeal your decision. If you file your complaint along with your appeal of the hearing decision, the Appeals Council will address both the appeal and the complaint in its decision.
Here are the steps to take to file the Unfair Treatment Complaint:
You should give us your complaint in writing. But you also can tell us about your complaint, and we will write it down for you. Please give us as many details as you can, including:
- Your name, address and telephone number;
- Your Social Security number;
- Who treated you unfairly;
- How you think you were unfairly treated;
- When you think you were unfairly treated;
- The actions or words you thought were unfair;
- Who else saw or heard the unfair treatment; and
- If you are making the complaint for someone else, also give us your relationship to that person, and your name, address and telephone number.
You can ask for help or submit the complaint at any Social Security office. Be sure to take two copies and get your copy stamped by the counter attendant as proof of providing the complaint to Social Security. You can also send your complaint directly to the Social Security Appeals Council at the following address:
The Chief Administrative Law Judge
Office of Disability Adjudication and Review
5107 Leesburg Pike, Suite 1608
Falls Church, VA 22041-3255
Here again, make sure to send the complaint certified, return receipt requested (or equivalent) so you have proof of filing the complaint.