If your Social Security disability application has been denied by the Social Security Administration, you may need to file a “request for reconsideration”. Here, we will discuss the reconsideration process for disability claims and answer the common questions asked by our clients.
Millions of people in the United States have a disability that renders them incapable of working and earning income for themselves and their families. The Social Security Administration (SSA) has put two disability programs into place: Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). While both programs are intended to assist those financially with an impairing disability, many initial disability claims are denied. In fact, about 53 percent of applications between 2001 and 2010 were denied, according to an SSA report.
If you’ve applied for disability benefits and your claim has been denied, the fight is not over yet — you have the right to appeal your case. You first may apply for reconsideration of your denied claim. Below we will discuss the reconsideration process for disability claims.
What is disability reconsideration?
When a claim for disability benefits is denied, the first step of fighting the decision is to file a request for reconsideration. The reconsideration process for disability claims involves a thorough review of your case and application. You have 60 days from the date you receive the denial of your SSDI application or SSI application to file a request for reconsideration. This request starts the reconsideration process for disability claims.
The Disability Determination Services (DDS) branch of the Social Security Administration performs the reconsideration process for disability claims. Rather than having the reconsideration completed by the same individuals who assessed your claim the first time, other individuals not involved in the original application review will do the reconsideration.
What if my reconsideration is approved?
If you’re approved, great! In most cases, you will begin receiving benefits. You should expect a “Notice of Award” that explains how much you will be receiving. This includes back benefit payments as well as your monthly benefit payments. We like to review these to ensure they are accurate.
What if my reconsideration is denied?
If you’re denied, don’t worry. Many cases are denied at this level. In fact, only about 15% of requests for reconsideration are approved. If you are denied at this stage, we can appeal the decision by requesting a hearing with an administrative law judge. Like the reconsideration process itself, the hearing process is also lengthy, has multiple stage, and requires gathering important documentation and information.
In the hearing, you will have the opportunity to present your case, as well as any new and relevant medical evidence. Beware — the SSA may present expert witnesses who could testify against your claim and ask technical questions for which you may be unprepared. You have 60 days from the notice of denial to file a request for hearing.
How long does disability reconsideration take?
The reconsideration process for disability claims takes about four to six months from start to finish. After you file your request for reconsideration, the file is sent to a different person at Disability Determination Services. From that point, DDS reviews your file in the same way that it did during the initial application. They can send you to a doctor for an examination. They can send the file to a doctor for review. Overall, the process is similar to the disability application process. The main difference is that it is a new group of people examining yoru claim.
Do I need an attorney to file a request for reconsideration?
While you can certainly start the reconsideration process without an attorney, this isn’t recommended. Too many people are denied over technical issues in the reconsideration that could have been prevented if the request for reconsideration was completed with a top SSD attorney.
The Social Security Administration denies many about 85% of requests for reconsideration every year. Many requests are denied because they’re incomplete or completed incorrectly. Unfortunately, many individuals who truly qualify for and need the disability benefits are denied. In order to ensure that your claim has the highest chance possible of being approved during the reconsideration process, you should have a disability attorney who knows the system help you file the request for reconsideration.
Patrick J. Best of ARM Lawyers has helped thousands of individuals get their disability benefits.. To get started on filing your request for reconsideration today, call our offices now at 570-503-6255. The best part is that we can start the whole process over the phone or by video conference so you don’t even need to come into the office.