What is the Reconsideration Stage in the Disability Benefits Approval Process?

Posted by: Chris

Most people who apply for Social Security disability benefits will not be approved. In fact, it is estimated that over two-thirds of initial claims are denied. Fortunately, the Social Security Administration (SSA) allows applicants to file an appeal to continue the fight for benefits. The appeals process is long and complex, but it begins with the reconsideration stage. Here’s what you need to know about this step in the process:

What is the Reconsideration Stage?

An application enters the reconsideration stage as soon as it is appealed. During the reconsideration stage, the SSA reexamines the application to determine if it should have been approved instead of denied. The team that conducts this review usually consists of a disability examiner and medical consultant. However, the disability examiner and medical consultant that denied the application in the initial review are not allowed to conduct a review of the same application in the reconsideration stage.

The team will carefully review all of the evidence from the initial claim in addition to any new evidence submitted by the applicant. Then, the team will decide whether or not to reverse the initial decision and approve the application.

How to Submit An Application For Reconsideration

Applicants must request reconsideration within 60 days of learning that their initial claim was denied. The request to reconsider the application can be submitted by either the applicant or a representative, such as an attorney.

There are three ways to officially request reconsideration. Applicants can:

  • Submit SSA-561, which is the Request for Reconsideration form
  • Submit i561, which is the online version of the Request for Reconsideration form
  • Submit a request via letter, fax, or email that explicitly states you are unhappy with the initial decision and would like the SSA to reconsider

It’s important to note that requests cannot be made over the phone--the request must be in writing.

What Happens Next?

Getting approved during this stage is not easy--it’s estimated that more than 80% of applications in the reconsideration stage are denied. If you are approved, you will start receiving disability benefits from the SSA. But, there is still hope even if you are denied benefits during the reconsideration stage. If an application is not approved in this stage, it will move into the next phase of the appeals process. 

Has your disability claim been denied? If so, contact Armstrong & Vaught, P.L.C. at once. Our experienced attorneys guide clients through the appeals process, fighting for their benefits every step of the way. Call us now at 918-582-2500, toll free at (800) 722-8880, or contact us online for a free consultation with a skilled attorney.