Social Security Disability Reconsideration Requests
How to Start Your Appeal When You’re Denied Disability Benefits
You’re struggling with an injury or a debilitating illness, but your disability claim was denied.
You know you can’t work because of your health problems, so it’s incredibly frustrating to be refused the monthly checks that could help you live a normal life.
You aren’t alone.
Most people get denied when they first apply for Social Security Disability. You can continue with your claim—and you should.
In most states, the first step of appealing your denial is asking Social Security for a reconsideration.
Appeals are complicated. You’ve got to handle them right. When it comes to disability appeals, Olinsky Law Group is a national leader.
How Do I Request a Reconsideration?
First off, move quickly.
You must file your appeal within 60 days of receiving your initial denial. Failure to meet the deadline means you have to start over again, delaying your benefits and possibly sending you to another rejection.
There are limited cases in which reapplying might be your best option. Talk to an experienced disability lawyer to determine if that applies to you.
The 60-day period also has a few exceptions, referred to as exceptions for good cause. These typically include hospitalization or serious illness, or other circumstances that legitimately prevent you from filing on time.
When you file for reconsideration, send updated medical records to show how your condition has deteriorated.
This is also a chance to fix weaknesses in your original application and improve the documentation in your file.
What Happens During the Reconsideration?
When you seek a reconsideration, Social Security sends your case to a new reviewer, somebody different from the person who decided to deny your benefits in the first place.
This new reviewer, however, follows the same process and rules as the first one who evaluated your claim.
The result: Few people are awarded benefits at the reconsideration level of appeals.
In several recent years, the percentage of people winning benefits on reconsideration has often been in the single digits.
You might have better success moving on to the next level of appeals—a hearing with an administrative law judge (ALJ).
In fact, some states skip the reconsideration step and send you straight to an ALJ hearing.
The Olinsky Law Group has extensive experience with hearings.
What Happens Next?
When you go to a hearing, the ALJ will question you about your disability and work history, and probably bring in a vocational expert to determine whether you’re able to perform your most recent job.
ALJs having more flexibility in their decision-making than reconsideration claims reviewers. Having a skilled attorney at this level can seriously impact your case.
Preparation is key. You need someone who knows how to respond and ask questions of the vocational expert.
One recent government report said people were three times more likely to win benefits in their hearings if they had representatives.
Having a lawyer focused on every step of your claim also makes life easier for you.
Your lawyer takes the burden of managing your disability claim off your shoulders. And you don’t pay an attorney’s fee until you win benefits.