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SSDI reconsideration- what do I need to know?

Recently on our disability forum a user asked, “I have been denied Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). I have heard the next step is called a reconsideration. What do I need to know about winning SSDI at this step in the appeal’s process?”


What is reconsideration?

Up to 70% of disability applicants are denied at the initial application level. The good news is that most disability applicants have another chance to resubmit their application to the Social Security Administration (SSA) for further review by requesting an appeal. Before filing a request for a reconsideration (the first appeal), however, it’s important to understand the process.

  1. Most reconsiderations are denied.

Under the reconsideration process a second disability examiner will review your disability application a second time using the same criteria the first disability examiner used during the initial review process. For this reason, unless you submit additional evidence that you are disabled, (which most claimants do not do) your application is likely to be denied a second time. In fact, the SSA reports 80% of reconsiderations are denied.

  1. Consider submitting additional disability information to strengthen your claim.

Considering the high denial rate at the reconsideration level, it’s important to review your disability file prior to file your appeal. This means you might want to request your disability file from the SSA or review your medical records to ensure they contain enough evidence to prove that your condition either meets or equals a listing on the SSA Listing of Impairments or you cannot work your current job or retrain for new work.

Note: if you simply appeal your claim through the reconsideration process without adding any additional supportive information, your claim is likely to be denied a second time.

  1. Make sure you understand why your case was denied.

Another key to winning your claim at the reconsideration level is to understand why your claim was denied at the application level. The SSA may believe your condition is not severe, you could retrain for new work, or you were working too many hours or making too much money at the time you applied.

Review your denial letter. Make sure you have a valid claim. Some of the denials cannot be overcome and filing a reconsideration is a waste of time.

  1. Consider hiring a disability lawyer.

Although many claimants are hesitant to pay someone to get them benefits they believe they deserve, sometimes hiring a disability lawyer is the key to winning benefits. Not only do they understand the disability process, they will understand the type of information you will need to provide to the SSA to win your disability claim.

  1. Consider whether or not you are really disabled.

Many claimants file for SSDI benefits because they have lost their job or they cannot work their current job. There are thousands of claimants, however, who are denied SSDI benefits because they are not disabled according the definition outlined by the SSA.

If your claim has been denied and you are considering filing a reconsideration, first make sure your condition will last 12 continuous months, it is severe, and it does not allow you to work- which includes retraining for new work- for at least 12 months.

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