Social Security Reconsideration

The first appeal before a hearing with a judge

by Tim Moore, Disability Representative in North Carolina

Request for Reconsideration appeal

If you file for disability and are denied, it is strongly to your advantage to file an appeal and not start a new application. Why? Because filing a new claim will get you the same result, another denial. The reconsideration appeal is the first appeal. Here we discuss how to request a reconsideration and how to win a disability reconsideration.

(Read if you live in North Carolina)

How do you do a reconsideration appeal? You can file one online, or you can call your local Social Security office. If you are represented, CALL THEM as soon as you get your denial notice (they will also receive a notice) and have them file it for you. This is usually the best approach. Your representative can do the appeal online and meet the deadline quickly, saving you the time and consternation of completing more forms. Do not miss the deadline or take too much time getting the reconsideration done. You want to move your case as quickly as possible.

This page provides tips for How to Win a Disability Reconsideration.

But, before we get to those tips, let me point out: if you get denied and have to file a reconsideration, do not get frustrated. In every state, most people are denied on their application and have to appeal. It is a sad but true reality. People who are intially denied will always have their best chance before a judge at a disability hearing (the appeal that follows the reconsideration). However, some people do win a disability reconsideration and if you do it can eliminate months of waiting for a disability hearing to be scheduled and held.

Now here are those tips:

1. When you file a reconsideration, provide updated information regarding any new treatment sources, or regarding recent visits to treatment sources (doctors, hospitals, clinics).

New information can sometimes provide a crucial bit of evidence to win your disability claim. If possible, try to get a statement from your physician or physicians to support your case. If you are represented, your disability representative can send out what is known as a medical source statement. This allows your doctors to explain exactly why your condition makes you disabled.

2. If possible, submit your most recent medical records with your reconsideration. Why? Because, in most cases, a reconsideration or disability application will be held up by the wait for medical records (disability examiners request your records as soon as they receive your case, but it can take weeks or even months for a hospital or doctor’s office to comply with the request). Submitting your records when you apply can lead to a quick decision. But it only makes sense to do this if you are submitting all your records, including all sources, and your oldest and most recent records.

3. If you kept a copy of your disability application, use this to help with your reconsideration. Refer to it to make sure there wasn’t something you left off from when you originally went to apply for disability. Keeping a copy of your application for disability is also very sound advice because, in the event that the social security administration “cannot find” what you have submitted, you’ll have the information on hand.

Tip: In fact, it is very common for applicants to leave off treatment sources and even impairments when they first apply. If you discover that something was left off your application, you’ll want to include this on your reconsideration appeal.

4. Get the reconsideration turned in immediately. You have 60 days plus five days mailing time to do this, but every day you wait adds more time to the process and puts you, financially, in a worse position.

Ideally, you should try to submit your reconsideration in the same week that you are notified that your disability application has been turned down. This is an advantage of being represented because they will do it for you.