§§ 205(g) and 1631(c)(3) of the Social Security Act allow a claimant to ask the court to review a final decision
of the Commissioner. To obtain such a review, the claimant must file a complaint.
The complaint is a formal legal document that identifies the parties to the lawsuit
and contains numbered allegations identifying the cause or controversy. Before filing
a complaint, the claimant must:
Exhaust all administrative remedies; i.e. initial, reconsideration (unless it is a
prototype state in which the reconsideration level has been eliminated), hearing and
Appeals Council (AC) actions (either a decision or a denial of a request for review)
(See GN 03107.100C. for exceptions using the Expedited Appeals Process); and
Appeal to Federal Court within 60 calendar days from the date of receipt of the AC
decision or denial of request for review. The date of receipt is presumed to be within
5 days of the date on the notice, unless the claimant shows otherwise. To determine
whether good cause exists, the AC will use the standards set forth in GN 03101.020 and SI 04020.020B.3.; and
Appeal to Federal Court in the U.S. District Court for the judicial district where
the claimant lives or has his/her principal place of business. If the claimant does
not live within a judicial district in the United States, a civil action may be filed
in the U. S. District Court for the District of Columbia.
There is a fee set by the court for filing a complaint. See GN 03106.010 if the claimant alleges an inability to pay the fee.