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Reconsideration: After an Initial Denial

When individuals file for disability, the odds are initially against them.  Most disability claims are denied at the initial level of application.  In fact, nearly 70% of claims are denied at the initial stage.  Claimants should not give up because the odds of success will improve (just not as quickly as most would hope).  The next level of appeal after the initial denial is called reconsideration, and this stage is exactly what it sounds like.

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What is Reconsideration?

After a claim for disability is denied at the initial level of application, the Claimant must request reconsideration within sixty (60) days from the date of denial.  This request is made using Form SSA-561.  When properly filed, Social Security will send the claim file back to Disability Determination Services (DDS) for another look.  While this second review is generally performed at the same office as the initial review, it is conducted by a different person, however the standards applied are the same.

What are the odds at the Reconsideration Level?

Getting a reconsideration decision takes about another four months or so, and unfortunately the news is usually bad.  Only slightly more than 10% of cases get approved at the reconsideration level of appeal.  In my experience, cases that are granted at reconsideration are ones where the initial decision was made without crucial evidence that made it into the case file after the initial decision but prior to the reconsideration decision.

What should Claimants do?

To give your reconsideration appeal the greatest chance of success, ensure that all deadlines are met.  Also, make sure that you report all physician and provider names to the SSA, as well as any medical treatment that you are receiving.  In addition to reporting this information it is also important to close the circle by ensuring that the SSA has full copies of your relevant records entered into your case file.

Don’t Give Up!

Though a full and correct reconsideration filing may not cause your initial denial to be suddenly overturned, it is a required step in most jurisdictions.  Appealing a case that is denied at reconsideration will give offer the greatest chance to make your case…the disability hearing.  Though the odds at the initial and reconsideration levels are poor, they improve substantially if you are able to press forward.  While Claimants and their families may be able to provide adequate support during the initial application and reconsideration, all further appeals should be undertaken with assistance.  We frequently recommend hiring experienced local counsel to help with your disability case.  If you are in Georgia, the disability attorneys at O’Brien & Feiler would be pleased to evaluate your case for free.  For disability resources and information, please visit the OBF Knowledge Base or OBF TV.

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