How long does it take to get an answer on a Social Security Reconsideration Appeal?

The Request for Reconsideration appeal - The wait for an answer on a disability claim at this level tends to be shorter than the initial claim. This is because most of the casework has already been done at the disability application level. In most cases, there will be very little development that is needed specifically for the reconsideration.

For this reason, a notice of decision following the commencement of a request for reconsideration will usually be sent out to the claimant within 60 days. In many cases, an answer on a reconsideration can be received in as little as 30 days.

Will a reconsideration appeal be successful? In most cases, the answer to this question is no. Approval and denial rates differ from state to state.

However, on average about 87 percent of reconsideration disability appeals will be denied. This seems to be an increase from prior years in which approximately 85 percent of reconsiderations were turned down by the social security administration.

The request for reconsideration has a low success rate; however, this does not mean that the appeal should not be filed. In fact, there is a clear incentive to any person who has been denied for disability benefits on an application for disability to file a "recon".

This is because it is only after a reconsideration has been turned down may a claimant request a Social Security Disability or SSI hearing before an administrative law judge. Social Security hearings, statistically, offer a better than sixty percent chance of being awarded disability benefits. And the chances of receiving a disability award letter following a hearing increases substantially when able social security representation is involved.

Note: claimants who are denied on their disability application should file their reconsideration as quickly as possible. Social Security always gives a claimant sixty days in which to get an appeal submitted.

However, this appeal (and any appeal, really) should be filed as soon as possible. Most of the casework for the reconsideration has already been completed at the application phase. However, the medical records that have been gathered are aging in the file.

What do we mean by this? SSA (the social security administration) requires that at least some medical evidence in the file must be no older than 90 days. If there is no "recent" (i.e. bearing dates within the last 90 days) evidence in the file, the reconsideration examiner will be forced to gather more medical records OR send the claimant to another consultative examination.

This, of course, can add weeks or even months to the case. Therefore, one of the best time saving devices that can be used by a disability claimant is to file the appeal IMMEDIATELY following receipt of a notice of disapproved claim (the notice of denial).

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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