Filing Your Social Security Request for Reconsideration
If your initial disability claim is denied, the first appeal you can file is a Social Security Request for Reconsideration. When you file a Request for Reconsideration, you will be asked to complete a reconsideration request form and to provide information about any changes in your health and any work you have done since you filed your claim. You will also be asked the reasons why you think the denial determination is wrong. This means that you will need to understand why Social Security denied your initial claim, so that you can effectively prove your case and be approved.
Refuting Social Security’s Reasons for Denial
Sometimes a person’s claim is denied because Social Security says the disability won’t last for twelve months. In that case, a reconsideration claiming that disability will continue for twelve months can result in an approval simply because, by the time the reconsideration is processed, twelve months will have passed and current medical information will show that disability continues.
At other times, how DDS arrived at their decision is not as clear. You have the right to obtain a copy of, and review, your claim file, including the determination memos. Social Security can, however, at its discretion, decline to release your medical records and doctor’s reports, including any consultative examination reports, directly to you. They will, however, release them to an attorney who represents you or, in some cases, to your physician. It could be helpful to have a lawyer who is experienced with Social Security Disability review your claim file to determine what is needed to win the appeal. See our article “How Can a Social Security Disability Lawyer Help Me Get Social Security Benefits?” for more information on how an attorney can help your case.
Sixty-day Deadline to Appeal
There is a time limit for filing a Social Security Request for Reconsideration. You must file your appeal within sixty days of receiving your denial letter. Social Security allows five days from the date on the letter for delivery. This means that Social Security must receive your reconsideration request within sixty-five days of the date on the denial letter. Filing the appeal on time is very important because if you fail to do so, you will most likely lose your right to appeal. It is only very rarely that Social Security allows a late appeal, and then only because the claimant couldn’t respond sooner because of very severe limitations, such as an extended hospital or nursing home stay.
The Reconsideration Review and Appealing Again
Physicians and claims examiners at the Disability Determination Services who were not involved with your initial claim will review your Request for Reconsideration. If your disability claim is denied at the reconsideration appeals level, you can appeal again by requesting a hearing. For more information about the Social Security disability appeals process in general and hearings in particular, please see our articles “I Was Denied Social Security Disability. What Can I Do?” and “What is a Social Security Disability Hearing, and What Can I Expect When I Request a Disability Hearing?”