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Changing an SSA benefit decision by revision

If you're getting a benefit from the Social Security Agency (SSA) you may find out that the decision on your benefit was wrong in some way or the SSA may decide it was wrong. If this happens, some benefit decisions can be changed by revision.

This page tells you more about revision and what happens if you don't agree with the outcome of a revision decision.

What is a revision?

A revision means that the decision on your benefit claim is looked at again. If the outcome of a revision is successful you can be backdated any money you're owed from the date when the original decision on your claim was made.

You can ask for a decision to be changed by revision, or the SSA may decide to change a decision by revision, based on information they have. If you ask for a reconsideration of a new benefit decision this will also be changed by revision.

If the new decision is that you were paid too much benefit, you may have to pay back money.

When can a decision be revised?

A decision can also be looked at again and revised in many circumstances including when:

  • there's been a mistake or official error in the decision to pay you benefit
  • it's too late to ask for a reconsideration
  • it's too late to appeal against a wrong decision on your claim and you have lost money.

If you ask for revision and it is successful you will be paid any benefit you are owed backdated to when the original decision was made.

You can ask for a revision or the decision maker may decide to revise the decision if they become aware of facts that affect your claim.

How to ask for a revision

If you become aware of a reason that means your benefit decision should be revised, you should get in touch with the decision maker to ask for a revision. The contact details should be on any correspondence you have had about the claim.

You can apply by phone or in writing. It is best to apply in writing so you have proof. Keep a copy of your letter and a note of the date you sent it.

A decision maker will look at your application and decide if there is enough information to make a decision. They can ask you for more information or evidence if they need it.

You will have at least one month to provide the information or evidence. You can ask the decision maker to allow you more time if it will be difficult for you to provide the information by the deadline. However they don’t have to agree to this.

If you don’t provide information by the deadline you've agreed with the decision maker, they will make a decision based on the information they have.

If the decision maker revises your claim

If the decision maker revises your claim because they decide that the original decision was wrong, you will be sent a new decision notice telling you of the change.

You will have a month from the date the decision letter is sent to challenge the new decision.

You can challenge the new decision by asking for a reconsideration. From 23 May 2016 this is called mandatory reconsideration. If you've asked for a revision of a decision and it is not changed, the SSA will write to you to tell you your request has been refused. You also challenge this decision by asking for a reconsideration.

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