If your application for Social Security Disability benefits is denied, you can file for the Social Security Administration reconsider its decision. The appeals process begins when you receive a letter, which denies your application for Social Security Disability benefits. In addition to notifying you that your application has been denied, the denial letter also states what medical records were considered when denying your claim. The denial letter is dated, and this date, plus five days, is the start of the 60-day time period during which you are allowed to appeal the denial of your application for Social Security Disability benefits. In other words, if your denial letter is dated January 13, the 60 day period starts on January 18.
There are several levels to the appeals process. The first level is called a Request for Reconsideration. Reconsideration is also known in some areas of the country as a Disability Redesign Protocol. Eventually the Disability Design Protocol will supplant the Request for Reconsideration, but most areas of the country still use the Reconsideration process.
To be accepted, your Request for Reconsideration for Social Security Disability benefits must be filed within the 60-day window. If your appeal is filed late, it may be considered if you include a reasonable explanation for the delay. Because the definition of “reasonable” is subjective, the safest course of action is to file your request within the allotted 60 days. You may need to request additional medical information in that time period, so it is best to start working on your appeal as soon as you receive the letter, which denies your Social Security Disability benefits.
Many Requests for Reconsideration are denied, but that is often because applicants do not take the time and trouble to provide exactly what the Social Security Administration needs to approve their claims. In that regard, it is important to review the denial letter and your case file carefully and to work closely with your Claims Analyst. If you feel intimidated by the process and have not already done so, it is a good idea to retain the services of a Social Security Disability advocate to help you fill out these forms and to help you decide what additional information to attach.
You will need to submit three forms with your request: the Reconsideration Disability Report (for new or additional information in your case), the Request for Reconsideration (the actual appeal form), and the Authorization to Disclose Information to the Social Security Administration (basically a medical release form). Because the Request for Reconsideration gives very limited room for you to state your case, use that space to say “see attached” and attach medical records that support your disability claim.
The key to filing a Request for Reconsideration is to determine what gaps, if any, there are in the medical records submitted the first time and to determine the basis on which your application for Social Security Disability benefits was denied. You can then focus on refuting incorrect conclusions and/or supplying missing medical records in your appeal. You are allowed to review your file to see what records were received and also to see how the Claims Analyst came to his or her conclusion. Then you will know what you need to supply in the way of additional information.
Once filed, your Request for Reconsideration and its attachments will be reviewed by a Claims Analyst, who may ask you for additional information and who may also schedule you for a Consultative Examination. In other words, this appeal is almost exactly the same as the initial review process.