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SSDI reconsideration and steps to prepare

Recently on our legal forum a user asked, “My Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) claim was denied. I know I have sixty days to appeal the denial and file a SSDI reconsideration. I am wondering what I should do to ensure my claim is not denied a second time?”


Millions of workers apply for SSDI each year. Most of those who apply are denied and must appeal the denial decision. The first step in the SSA appeals process is a reconsideration. Unfortunately, the rate of denial at this level is even higher than at the initial application level.

Why was my SSDI reconsideration denied?

There are several reasons for the high level of denials at the reconsideration level. First, the SSDI reconsideration is essentially just a second look at the same claim. This means your case is reviewed a second time by a second disability examiner at the Disability Determination Service in your state.

Secondly, most claimants do not really understand how the SSA is making their disability decision and after the denial, claimants don’t take the necessary steps to ensure the SSA has the right information. Specifically, claimants do not ensure that the SSA has enough recent medical evidence to prove that their medical health condition either meets a listing on the SSA Listing or Impairments or that their condition is so severe they cannot work.

What can I do to improve my chances at the reconsideration appeal level?

There are several steps you can take to improve your chances of winning benefits at the SSDI reconsideration level.

  1. Review your SSDI denial.

Read your denial closely. Make sure you understand exactly why you were denied. Some denials cannot be appealed. If the SSA claims that you did not have enough medical information, they believe your condition is not severe, they believe you can continue to work, or that your condition will not last at least 12 continuous months, you may be able to provide medical evidence to disprove their claims.

  1. Continue to receive good medical treatment and follow your doctor’s orders.

Right or wrong, the SSA assumes that if you are severely sick or injured that you will be under a doctor’s care. You will also follow your doctor’s treatment plan. Failure to do either of these two things may be an indication to the SSA that you are not as sick as you claim to be.

  1. Send all updated medical information to the SSA.

Submitting your SSDI application and sitting back and waiting for our disability check may not be enough to win benefits. The SSA makes their disability determination almost entirely based on your medical information contained in your medical file. Although you do not have to provide the medical records to the SSA, you need to make sure they have information about all of your treating doctors, especially if you have seen new doctors or have new information that they did not review prior to the initial decision.

Bottom Line:

SSDI reconsideration denials are common because the second disability examiner generally reviews the same information using the same standards as the first examiner. If you expect to win SSDI benefits at the SSDI reconsideration level you will need to improve your case.

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