You applied for Social Security disability benefits and were denied. Don't panic, and never give up. It's extremely common for first time applicants to be denied benefits, especially if they attempted to fight SSA alone and not ask for help from an experienced disability benefits lawyer.
Before you think about filing a new disability application with SSA, it's critical that you understand the process of filing a "request for reconsideration." This step will give applicants a better chance at receiving deserved benefits than if they were to simply repeat the application process from the beginning.
What is the Reconsideration Stage?
Filing a request for reconsideration serves as the first step in your appeal of SSA's initial denial.
Once a request for reconsideration is filed, SSA will then review your application for an additional review. An SSA examiner different from the one who reviewed your initial application will be responsible for handling your reconsideration request.
It's important to note that there are deadlines associated with the reconsideration stage, and most important is that your reconsideration request be filed within 60 days after receiving a denial from SSA. If you miss the 60-day deadline, SSA will require you to begin the application process from the beginning.
(According to SSA, the 60-day timeline begins after your receive your denial letter. They maintain that you should receive the denial letter 5 days after the date on the letter. However, if you did not receive the letter within 5 days, and can provide evidence of same, SSA may consider allowing additional for you to file a request for reconsideration.)
What to Include in a Reconsideration Request
Filing a request for reconsideration is not necessarily complicated, however, you do want to make sure that you provide SSA with the appropriate information. This includes any recent medical documentation that might be available now that wasn't present when you filed your initial application, such as recent visits to doctors, specialists, or clinics.
Additionally, if there are new developments regarding your medical condition(s), changes in your health, etc., you'll want to include these updates in your request for reconsideration. SSA will review new information on a request for reconsideration as long as it is accurate and can be supported by acceptable medical professionals.
Your submission for reconsideration should be the most recent summary of your overall medical condition; don't leave out any details. Remember, this is an opportunity for SSA to reverse their initial decision.
Chances of Approval at the Reconsideration Stage
Similar to the approval rate at the initial application level, your chances of SSA granting you disability benefits at the reconsideration stage are somewhat low. The reason for this is often times a persona's condition has not changed, or there is no additional/new supporting information that was provided.
However, there is good news!
A large number of reconsideration requests that are denied by SSA can ultimately be approved at the hearing level with appropriate help from an experienced and knowledgeable disability attorney. (You can only have a hearing before an administrative law judge if your request for reconsideration has been denied.)
How We Can Help
If you contact us after your initial denial, we have a better chance at helping you obtain benefits. This is largely because we can begin advising you on the reconsideration strategy that should be used to strengthen your case for a possible hearing. Ultimately, the sooner you contact one of our Indianapolis disability lawyers about your claim, the better we are able to help.
Our disability lawyers offer a Zero Fee Guarantee, meaning we never charge for consultations and the only way we are paid for our legal services is if you obtain disability benefits.
If you have questions about your request for consideration, you can speak to one of our attorneys now by calling 1-800-253-5537, or you can write to us by using our free contact form.