Applying for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits can be a lengthy and complicated process. The initial application stage usually takes about three to six months, but only about 30% of applicants get approved at this stage.
For the other 70% of applicants who get denied benefits by the SSA for their initial application, there are still options available. The next step towards attempting to get SSD benefits for your disabling condition is called the reconsideration stage. This is the first step in the appeals process for your SSD application.
What to Expect
For the SSA to take another look at your SSD benefits application, you need to submit a request for reconsideration with the SSA. You have 60 days from the date that you received your notice of denial. If you do not file the request within 60 days, you have to start the entire initial application process again, which will most likely decrease your chance of approval.
The Social Security office will send your initial application back to the Disability Determination Services (DDS) for a second review of your records. Your application will be sent to the same office, but reviewed by a different person. Although the second reviewer is different, they are following the same set of rules as the initial application reviewer. So, if there are no major changes or additions to your application, it will most likely be denied a second time. In fact, about 86% of applications get denied at the reconsideration stage.
The applications that are approved at the reconsideration stage most likely left out a large, important piece of information or medical history in the initial application.
The reconsideration stage takes about three to five months. You will receive a notification letter saying if you were approved or denied. If approved, the letter will state how much money you will be receiving each month and when it will start.
What to Do
If you plan to file for reconsideration of your SSD benefits application, you need to provide the SSA with any updates to your medical records, including doctor’s visits, test results, and any new treatments. Also include any work activity you have had to perform since your initial application, and the problems you encountered because of your disability while working.
You should also look over your initial application and the included materials to see if there is anything important that may be missing. One of the biggest reasons initial applicants are denied is due to a typo on the application.
Lastly, it may be a good idea to look into hiring a disability lawyer who can help you through the appeals process for your disability claim.
Tips for Success
- Although you have 60 days to file a request for reconsideration, you should submit it to the SSA as quickly as possible to quicken the process and maximize your chances of a successful appeal.
- Submit ongoing medical records to the SSA. Any new piece of medical information that relates to your disability may help your application be approved, so don’t be afraid to stay in constant contact with your Social Security office.
- Repeatedly check in with the SSA about the status of your application for a better chance of success and to make it known that you are invested in your appeal. Sometimes paperwork is lost in the shuffle, and if you are communicating with the SSA, you could avoid an unnecessary denial.