How to file for disability, Filing for SSI
Disability Requirements, Disability Status
How long is the wait?, Disability Application
The Social Security List of Impairments
Qualifying for Disability, Mental Disability
Disability Lawyer Info, Disability Back Pay

The difference between an Application for disability and a Social Security Reconsideration?

Someone recently submitted this question: "What is the difference between a disability application and the reconsideration? Are they the same thing? Answer: they are definitely not the same thing, though they are handled in an almost identical manner.

The application for disability is where the whole process of filing for SSD or filing for SSI--or both if your claim is concurrent--begins. If you've gone through this extended process, then you know that your case will be worked on by a disability examiner and that individual will do the job of going through your medical records and examining your work history. They will review your past work to determine if the physical and/or mental limitations that you have as a result of your condition (or conditions) makes it impossible for you to engage in work activity.

You may also (if this was done on your particular case) may be aware of the fact that, during the course of processing your claim, the examiner may find it necessary to contact you through the mail, or by phone, to get additional clarifying information about your work history, or to discuss what your range of normal daily activities is, or to ask you more questions about your doctors or the treatment you have received.

The process that is conducted on a request for reconsideration appeal is largely the same. This is because the disability evaluation process is simply what it is, and, therefore, is essentially handled the same regardless of the level of your claim.

The process is, of course, conducted a bit differently at a social security hearing where a judge is charged with making the disability determination, but this is largely due to several reasons:

A) Neither the judge nor the hearing office will gather records for the case (once the case moves beyond the reconsideration appeal stage, the social security administration no longer does development on a case, though the judge may decide to send a claimant to a consultative medical exam if this is considered necessary)

B) The claimant will appear before the judge, usually with disability representation in the form of a disability lawyer or non-attorney claimant's representative.

The focus of the hearing is, to some extent, to address what has happened at previous levels of the system (disability application and reconsideration). However, since the claimant and his attorney are allowed to present additional medical evidence, information regarding the work history, and also to present an argument for approving the claim, the actual process of making the decision is still the same.

For those who are unaware of the process, it basically boils down to determining if the claimant's condition satisfies the criteria of an impairment that is listed in the Social security list of impairments, i.e. the blue book. If the claimant does not have a listing level impairment, then the decision will be based on what mental and physical functional limitations the claimant has, and, secondly, whether or not those limitations are strong enough to prevent the person from doing work activity.

To go back to the original question, however, there are few substantial differences between an application for disability and a reconsideration appeal. Here are the most apparent differences:

1. Reconsideration appeals generally take less time for a decision to be made.

2. Reconsideration appeals are generally denied at an even higher rate (87 percent denial rate on reconsiderations versus 70 percent denial rate on disability applications).

3. A reconsideration is handled by a different disability examiner than the examiner who made the decision on the disability application.

Essential Questions

What is the Social Security Disability SSI list of impairments?

Can you work while getting or applying for Disability?

How Often Does Social Security Approve Disability The First Time You Apply?

Tips for getting Social Security Disability or SSI benefits approved

What medical conditions will get you approved for disability?

What kind of Mental Problems Qualify for Disability?

Receiving a Disability Award Letter

Conditions Social Security will recognize as a disability

Previously answered questions regarding SSD and SSI

Applying for disability in your state

Most popular topics on SSDRC.com

Social Security Disability SSI Questions

The listings, list of disabling impairments

Can a mental illness qualify you for disability?

Disability Lawyers prevent unnecessary denials

How much Social Security Disability SSI back pay?

How to apply for disability for a child or children

Filing a Social Security Disability SSI application

Filing for disability - when to file

How to apply for disability - where to apply

Qualifications for disability benefits

How to Prove you are disabled and Win your Disability Benefits

Qualifying for Disability - The Process

How to get disability for depression

Getting disability for fibromyalgia

SSI disability for children with ADHD

What is the Application Process for Social Security Disability and SSI?

Common Mistakes to avoid after being denied for Disability

Social Security Disability SSI Exam tips

More Social Security Disability SSI Questions

Social Security Disability SSI definitions

What makes you eligible for Social Security Disability or SSI?

New and featured pages on SSDRC.com

Who can help me file for disability?

Related pages:

How to apply for disability and where to apply
Filing an Application for Disability Benefits under SSD or SSI - Step by Step
Tips on how to file for disability
What is the Application Process for Social Security Disability and SSI?
What happens after I file my disability claim with Social Security?
What happens after a Social Security Disability or SSI Claim has been taken and is Pending
If you get denied on a disability application do you have to file a new application?
How the Decision on a Disability Application or Appeal Under SSDI or SSI is Made
Social Security Disability, ongoing education, and going to school?
Can I get disability based on my high blood pressure and my age?
Getting a Disability Lawyer in Connecticut
If you apply for disability in Connecticut

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

Can you get temporary Social Security Disability or SSI benefits?

Permanent Social Security Disability

What is the difference between Social Security Disability and SSI?

Who is eligible for SSI disability?

Can I Be Eligible For SSI And Social Security Disability At The Same Time?

What makes a person eligible to receive disability benefits?

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?

For the sake of clarity, SSDRC.com is not the Social Security Administration, nor is it associated or affiliated with SSA. This site is a personal, private website that is published, edited, and maintained by former caseworker and former disability claims examiner, Tim Moore, who was interviewed by the New York Times on the topic of Social Security Disability and SSI benefits in an article entitled "The Disability Mess" and also by the Los Angeles Times on the subject of political attempts to weaken the Social Security Disability system.

The goal of the site is to provide information about how Social Security Disability and SSI work, the idea being that qualified information may help claimants pursue their claims and appeals, potentially avoiding time-consuming mistakes. If you find the information on this site helpful and believe it would be helpful to others, feel free to share links to its homepage or other pages on website resource pages, blogs, or social media. Copying of this material, however, is prohibited.

To learn more about the author, please visit the SSDRC.com homepage and view the "about this site" link near the bottom of the page.