What if you get denied for disability multiple times?

It's not unusual to get denied for disability multiple times. As a disability examiner working on application for disability after a claim has been denied. The reason for this is that if you file a new claim, your case will simply go through the exact same process and, most likely, be denied again for exactly the same reasons or very close to the same reasons. So, what do you do if you get denied? You file an appeal of your denial.

The first appeal is something known as a request for reconsideration. A request for reconsideration is handled very similarly to an initial disability application. However, recons, as they are called, are handled by a different examiner than the examiner who rendered the initial decision.

Recons also usually go faster; in other words, the decision is usually made faster. This tends to make sense since most of the case development was already handled by the disability examiner for the initial claim and this case development was completed very recently.

Most reconsideration appeals are turned down. Which is not at all surprising considering that the process is nearly identical. However, for most claimants the real point of requesting a reconsideration appeal is not to simply do the reconsideration appeal. It is actually to get to the next step in the appeal process.

The next step in the appeal process is the request for hearing before an administrative law judge. The ALJ, or administrative law judge, hearing, is for most claimants the most important step in the entire process. At this level of the system, the claimant is allowed to appear before the person deciding their claim (the ALJ) and have the evidence that they, or their attorney or non-attorney representative, has gathered for them. It is unique in the entire disability claim system because it is the only time that a face-to-face meeting with the adjudicator is a given and, beyond that, guaranteed.

The rates of approval for those who go to disability hearings are favorable. More than sixty percent of claimants with represenation will end up winning disability benefits. And that fact alone makes it vital to get to a disability hearing if your claim has been denied.

But the only way to do that is to file the first appeal after your disability application has been denied (the request for reconsideration) and then file the second appeal, the request for a hearing, if the "recon" gets denied---and, statistically, it usually does.

About the Author: Tim Moore is a former Social Security Disability Examiner in North Carolina, has been interviewed by the NY Times and the LA Times on the disability system, and is an Accredited Disability Representative (ADR) in North Carolina. For assistance on a disability application or Appeal in NC, click here.

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