SSDI Request for Reconsideration - what is the process and is a hearing involved?

Here's a statement I found posted on a forum: "A Request for Reconsideration involves an informal hearing with the social security office."

Is this correct? Not even slightly.

If you file a claim for either Social Security Disability or supplemental security income (also known as SSI disability) and your claim gets turned down, then you have the option of filing for request for a reconsideration. Reconsideration is the first level of appeal and a reconsideration should be requested within sixty days of being turned down on a claim for disability.

Reconsiderations, however, do not involve hearings, formal or informal, and they are not even handled by the social security office other than receiving the request for reconsideration.

Here is how the process works when it comes to doing a request for a reconsideration---

1. The claimant makes a request for reconsideration. This is done usually after a notice of denial on a disability application has been received. The request can be done by the claimant or by their disabilility claim lawyer or representative.

2. The claimant is sent the appeal forms to file a request for reconsideration after contacting SSA. The forms can be completed by the attorney and when individuals are represented this is usually what happens. Additionally, the claimant can elect to file the reconsideration appeal online. If a lawyer or non-attorney representative files the appeal, it will be done electronically online.

3. The claimant fills out the reconsideration forms and sends them back to the social security office.

4. The social security office sends the claimant's file to the state agency that is responsible for making decisions on reconsiderations. In most states, this agency is known as DDS or the disability determination services (in other states, it may be known as disability determination unit, disability determination division, or the bureau of disability determination, but these are all essentially the same agency).

5. The state agency that receives the claimant's file (along with the request for reconsideration) will assign the file to a disability examiner.

6. The disability examiner will review the file (and usually gather and evaluate medical records) and make a decision to approve or deny the claim for Social Security Disability or ssi disability benefits.

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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