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The Disability reconsideration Appeal - what is it and how do you file for it?

The disability reconsideration is the first level of appeal for a denial of a social security disability or SSI disability claim. A reconsideration is essentially this: the social security administration will simply take a second look at your disability claim to see if the first decision (when your disability application was denied) was correct or incorrect.

As with the application for disability, your case will be assigned to a disability examiner at the state disability processing agency. In most states, this agency is referrred as the DDS, or disability determination services agency.

Processing the Reconsideration appeal

At DDS, social security may request your medical records again, particularly if you indicate on the appeal forms that you have had new treatment with your current physician or physicians, or that you have a new source of treatment.

Of course, you may be sent to a consultative medical examination (CE for short). These exams are performed by independent doctors and psychologists and generally serve the purpose of providing recent documentation to a decision-maker on a claim if the claimant does not have recent medical records in their file ("recent", for social security purposes, means having at least some evidence that is not older than 90 days)

How long does it take to process a reconsideration appeal? Ordinarily, no longer than a disability application. Typically, a reconsideration decision on a disability claim is made faster than on a disability application and it is not unreasonable to expect a decision within eight weeks. Unfortunately, in most cases, you are even more likely to be denied on a reconsideration than on a disability application. In prior years, the average national rate of denial on a request for reconsideration was 85 percent.

Recent reporting of federal statistics indicates that it is now approximately 87 percent. Bear in mind that this is a national average and that the denial rate on a reconsideration may be higher in some states, and lower in others.

Why are reconsiderations turned down so often?

Simply because the reconsideration decision is made by the same agency (DDS) that denied the claim in the first place. The only real difference is that a different disability examiner makes the decision, usually using the exact same medical evidence, and usually within just a few weeks of the first decision--which was a denial of the claim--having been made. In most cases, given this type of setup, it would be illogical to think that any decision that was different from the first would be reached.

In cases where a claim is approved on a reconsideration appeal, it is often because the disability examiner who decided the initial claim, a.k.a. the disability application, so clearly flubbed the decision (so much so that the reconsideration-level examiner who takes a second look at the claim cannot ignore the incompetence of the decision) OR because new medical information has surfaced, such as a new diagnosis or a downgrade in the claimant's condition by the claimant's doctor or doctors.

The real reason you should file a reconsideration

Reconsideration appeals are practically doomed to fail. But that doesn't mean that they are not worth doing. First of all, a small percentage of them do get approved. This by itself makes a reconsideration worth filing. However, in most cases, the tactical value of a reconsideration is that if a person gets denied on this appeal, they can then file the next appeal which is a request for a disability hearing. And at hearings, those with representation have a substantially higher chance of being approved for disability benefits.

This is even more so if the case is properly prepared (obtaining medical record updates and submitting them to the judge, getting statements from the claimant's doctor or doctors and submitting them as well, and also being prepared to counter statements raised by expert witnesses called to the hearing by the administrative law judge). Disability hearings involving representation are typically won more than 60 percent of the time.

You may contact your local Social Security office to request your reconsideration paper work and if you have a disability lawyer you can simply contact this individual to handle your request for reconsideration.

Whether you submit a reconsideration or your attorney does, the reconsideration appeal must be submitted to social security within sixty-five days (the sixty day appeal deadline plus 5 days allowed for mailing). This means it must actually be received by the Social Security Administration, not just post marked, by the sixty-fifth day.

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  • SSDRC Homepage:

    Social Security Disability and SSI Resource Center

    The Most Basic questions about Getting Disability Benefits

    Social Security Disability SSI and whether or not you can work

    Common Mistakes to avoid after being denied for Disability

    Social Security Disability SSI Questions and Answers

    More Social Security Disability SSI Questions and Answers

    Common Questions about Social Security Disability and SSI

    Winning Social Security Disability or SSI Benefits

    The SSI Disability Benefits Program

    Medical exams for disability claims

    Applying for Disability in various states

    Social Security Disability SSI and Doctors - Yours and Theirs

    Social Security Disability and SSI Claim Reviews

    Social Security Disability SSI System and Benefits for Children

    Denials, Appeals, and Getting a Disability Lawyer or Representative

    What you should know about Social Security Disability and SSI Denials

    Questions about Disability Lawyers and Hiring a Disability Attorney

    Frequently asked questions about getting Denied for Disability Benefits

    FAQ on Disability Claim Representation

    Disability hearings before Judges

    Selecting and hiring Disability Lawyers

    Various Types of Benefits including SSI, Mental, and Child benefits

    Social Security and SSI based on Mental Disability

    Social Security Disability or SSI Benefits for Children

    Disability Benefits through Social Security

    Filing for Social Security Disability or SSI Benefits

    Social Security Disability SSI: Medical Evidence and Records

    Filing your claim for disability benefits

    Eligibility for receiving disability benefits

    Info about Social Security Disability Approvals and Being Approved

    FAQ on Social Security Disability SSI decisions

    The SSD SSI Decision Process and what gets taken into consideration

    Resources on this site

    Social Security Disability, SSI Terms and Definitions

    Previously answered questions regarding SSD and SSI

    For Individuals living in North Carolina

    Applying for Disability in North Carolina

    North Carolina Disability Lawyer

    Related pages:

    What Happens if a Social Security Disability or SSI Claim gets Denied on a Reconsideration Appeal?
    The Disability reconsideration Appeal - what is it and how do you file for it?
    What happens if a reconsideration for Social Security Disability or SSI is denied?
    Does The Social Security Reconsideration Take as Long As The Disability Application?
    Does The Social Security Disability Reconsideration Have A Time Limit?
    How long does it take to get an answer on a Social Security Reconsideration Appeal?
    Disability Approval Chances at the Social Security Reconsideration and Hearing Levels
    What Can You Do to Make Sure Your Social Security Disability Reconsideration Gets Approved?
    Do Most Social Security Disability Reconsiderations Get Turned Down?
    The difference between an Application for disability and a Social Security Reconsideration?
    Can you file for Temporary Disability Income with Social Security?
    If you apply for disability in in Colorado
    Getting a Disability Lawyer in Colorado

    These pages answer some of the most basic questions for individuals who are considering filing a claim.

    Filing for disability - How to file for SSD or SSI and the Information that is needed by Social Security
    How to Apply for Disability - What medical conditions can you apply and qualify for?
    Applying for Disability - How long does it take to get Social Security Disability or SSI benefits?
    What happens if I file a disability application and it is denied by a disability examiner or Judge?
    How to Prove you are disabled and qualify to win disability benefits
    How do you prove your disability case if you have a mental condition or impairment?
    Social Security Disability Back pay and How Long it Takes to Qualify for it and receive it
    Social Security Disability SSI - Eligibility Requirements and Qualifications Criteria