You are unable to work because of a debilitating back injury and you need the support of the Social Security Disability benefits you have paid into over many years of working, but your initial application has been denied. What should your next move be? In Indiana, you can request that the Disability Determination Bureau conduct a further review of your situation, but we don’t recommend doing this without the help and advice of an Indiana SSDI attorney. Keller & Keller’s Indianapolis team would be happy to help you throughout this process. Here, we offer general guidelines for how the process works.
The Reconsideration Process
Reconsideration is the first step of the SSDI appeals process in Indiana. If your application was denied, you have 60 days to ask the SSA to take another look at your application. The 60-day period begins after you receive your denial letter, which the SSA presumes will be five days after the date on the letter. If this is not the case, you may be able to file for an extension.
Once you request this further review, your disability claim will officially be in the reconsideration phase of the process. At the reconsideration level, your case will be sent to a different disability examiner at the same agency where you submitted your initial application. If your condition has worsened since your initial application, or you have obtained new medical evidence of your original disability, you should submit the new information along with your reconsideration request.
Chances of Winning at the Reconsideration Stage
Unless your circumstances have drastically changed since your initial denial, it is not likely that you will be approved at the reconsideration stage. The reconsideration approval rate is low because the examiner is usually just reviewing the same information that was denied the first time. In fact, fewer than 20 percent of reconsideration requests are granted each year in Indiana. However, it is a necessary step before you can request a hearing with an Administrative Law Judge, which is the next step in the appeals process. The Disability Determination Bureau generally takes between one and six months to make a reconsideration determination. If you are approved at this stage, there is no need to do anything else. You will begin receiving the benefits to which you are entitled.
What to Do If Your Request for Reconsideration Is Denied
If your request for reconsideration is denied, you will have 60 days to file for a hearing with an Administrative Law Judge. Many more denials are overturned at this stage than at the reconsideration stage. In fact, 66 percent of applicants in Indiana are awarded benefits at this stage. However, in order to be successful, you will need to present a very strong case before the judge. You will also have to be patient, as the average waiting time for an administrative hearing is about 18 months. During that time, you can be working with an attorney to build the strongest possible case.
How We Can Help
The sooner you contact us after your initial denial, the better chance we will have of helping you obtain the benefits you deserve. We will begin advising you right away on your reconsideration strategy, looking for ways to strengthen your case so you are ready for a possible hearing.
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. At that point, we will receive a percentage of the back-pay you are owed by the SSA. All of this will be explained in our first meeting to discuss your appeal.
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 fill out the contact form on this page. We will get back to you as soon as possible to begin the process of helping you get the Social Security Disability benefits you deserve.