When Social Security Disability applicants apply for disability benefits, they often assume that the claim process will be completed in as few as three months. Unfortunately, this best-case scenario is often the exception and not the rule. While the initial application process does take an average of three to six months to complete, the truth of the matter is that as few as 30 percent of disability claims are approved during the initial stage of the application process. The remaining 70 percent of applicants must go on to appeal the SSA's decision. The first step in this appeal process is referred to as a Request for Reconsideration.
What Is a Request for Reconsideration?
Once you have been notified of the Social Security Administration's decision to deny your initial disability claim, you have sixty days from the date that your receive the notice of denial to file an appeal with the Social Security Administration. The Request for Reconsideration is the first stage of what may prove to be a lengthy and complicated endeavor.
When you file a Request for Reconsideration, you must be sure that you file it within the 60-day time period that is allotted by the SSA, or you must provide good reason for not being able to do so. If you do not file your Request for Reconsideration within this time period, you will have to start the disability claim process from the beginning.
While some people do decide to re-apply for benefits from the start, thinking that they will have better luck the second time, the majority of these individuals find themselves right back at the Request for Reconsideration stage of the appeal process, only to realize that they had wasted precious time by not filing the Request for Reconsideration in the first place.
What Is Needed for a Request for Reconsideration?
There are three forms that you will need to submit during the reconsideration stage of the appeal process. These forms include a Request for Reconsideration appeal form, a Reconsideration Disability Report and an Authorization to Disclose Information form.
The Request for Reconsideration form is the actual form that begins the disability appeal process. The Reconsideration Disability Report is what allows you to present new or additional information to the Social Security Administration during this stage of the appeal process. The information release forms allow the Social Security Administration to obtain information from outside parties.
When a Social Security Disability applicant receives these forms, he or she will notice that the SSA provides a very limited amount of space for an applicant to state his or her case. Instead of trying to jam all of your evidence and information into that amount of space, simply write “See Attached Information” and include all of your additional medical records and other documents that will support your appeal.
Getting Professional Help to Increase Your Chances
When you begin the Social Security Disability appeal process and start working on your Request for Reconsideration, it may be in your best interest to retain the services of a qualified disability attorney or advocate. These professionals can ensure that your request is handled properly and that the Social Security Administration receives the evidence they need to grant your request.
The goal of a Request for Reconsideration is to find the weak points in your disability case and gather medical evidence that will be necessary to prove those points. A qualified advocate or disability attorney has the experience necessary to do this properly and will ensure that all issues are addressed.
Chances of a Favorable Outcome
Unfortunately, very few Requests for Reconsideration are actually granted by the Social Security Administration. It is estimated that more than 80 percent of these requests are denied. Do not let the statistics intimidate you, however. The reason that so many requests are denied is likely due to the fact that the individuals who are filing these requests do not understand the information that is needed for a successful outcome of the appeal.
If your Request for Reconsideration is denied, you still have a chance to obtain the Social Security Disability benefits you need by pursing the second stage of the appeal process. This stage of the appeal process is a disability hearing, and you will take your case before an administrative law judge.
While you should do everything in your power to win your case at the reconsideration level, all hope is not lost if you are unable to do so.