If you or someone you know has recently been disappointed by a disability claim denial notice from the Social Security Administration, don’t take that to mean that you’re “not disabled enough” and can’t qualify for benefits. Nationwide, only about one out of every three initial applications for disability benefits is approved by the SSA. Fortunately, denied applicants have the right to appeal.
So how do you appeal a denied claim? The first step in the appeals process for Oregon residents is called “reconsideration.” Reconsideration is, in essence, a request for a second opinion from a different Social Security claims evaluator who was not involved in making the initial determination. It is not just a cursory glance at your file; it is a thorough, independent review of the evidence you submitted with your application and can include additional evidence as well.
To obtain this review (and keep your claim/benefits start date alive), you or your authorized representative have to complete and file a “request for reconsideration” (Form SSA-561), a disability appeals report (similar to the one you completed for your initial application) and additional authorizations for the release of information about you to the SSA.
You have only 60 days after the day you receive notice of the initial determination to request reconsideration of a claim for Social Security Disability Insurance or Supplemental Security Income benefits. If your appeal is timely, you can expect a decision in approximately four to six months.
If the result is the same, take heart — about 85 percent of reconsideration requests are also denied. In our next post we’ll talk about the next step in the appeals process, the administrative law judge hearing, which is where the largest percentage of denied claims are approved.
Source: SocialSecurity.gov, “2723. Reconsideration,” April 4, 2012