June 18, 2011

The Reconsideration Stage of the Social Security Disability Claims Process

At the Indiana law office of social security disability attorney Scott D. Lewis, Mr. Lewis and his staff often find themselves explaining the different stages of the disability claims process to those individuals seeking disability benefits. Individuals that have applied for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits often find themselves receiving a denial letter from the Social Security Administration (SSA). When the SSA notifies the disability claimant that their initial application was denied, it is up to the applicant to continue the disability claims process by appealing the denial. Within sixty (60) days, plus five (5) days for mailing time, the disability applicant must file the appeal with the SSA.  This stage of the claims process is called the “Request for Reconsideration” stage.  This request is simply asking the SSA to reconsider your disability claim.

Once this “Request for Reconsideration” is submitted by the Indiana disability applicant, the request for reconsideration goes back to the same state agency who denied the claim the first time, but a different examiner at the Disability Determination Section (DDS) of the SSA reviews both the initial application and the “Request for Reconsideration”.  Once the disability examiner at the Disability Determination Section (DDS) makes the reconsideration determination, the applicant will be informed by mail.  Unfortunately, statistically about 80% of the time the reconsideration decision is the same as the initial decision resulting in another denial. However, statistically about 20% of the time a claimant wins at the reconsideration level.  In most states, in Indiana, if you want to appeal a denial of Social Security disability benefits, you must go through the reconsideration appeals process. There is no way to avoid it. In a few states, the Social Security Administration has abolished reconsideration and you can file an immediate request for a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). The denial notice from Social Security will tell you what the next step is that you need to take.

If you are disabled and are unable to work due to your disabling condition, but have been denied SSDI or SSI at the initial application level, you may want to seek representation from a qualified Indiana disability attorney or representative.  Indianapolis lawyer Scott D. Lewis encourages disability claimants to fight for the benefits they deserve.  Mr. Lewis urges disability claimants to file a “Request for Reconsideration” immediately when they are denied.  At the law office of Scott D. Lewis, Mr. Lewis and his trained staff can assist the claimant with filing the “Request for Reconsideration.”

Here are some important tips to remember when filing your disability appeal with the Social Security Administration:

  1. Provide the SSA with the most updated medical information including recent visits to doctors, hospitals or clinics, and updated medication lists. Submit the medical records from providers that you have visited, from the time of your initial application until your “Request for Reconsideration” was filed.
  2. If you submitted your initial application in writing, make a photocopy of your application.  This can be useful when completing the “Request for Reconsideration” paperwork.  Carefully review your initial application to make sure you haven’t forgotten any medical providers, hospitals, or clinics.  If you have, include them on your appeal application.  Also, include any conditions or side effects to medications that you may not have included on your initial application.
  3. File your “Request for Reconsideration” within sixty (60) days of the date on the denial notice, plus five (5) days for mailing. Turn in your request for reconsideration as early as possible. Every day you wait is a longer delay.

These are just a few tips that may help speed up the reconsideration process. While it may not mean that your SSDI or SSI benefits will be granted at the “Request for Reconsideration” stage, you will at least a get “faster” denial so that you can move onto the “Request for Hearing” stage.

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