Appealing an SSDI Denial: Reconsideration

Social Security claim deniedWhen you’re unable to work due to a disabling medical impairment and counting on Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits, finding out that the Social Security Administration (SSA) denied your claim could come as a surprise. Unfortunately, it shouldn’t. If you applied for SSDI and were denied, you’re not alone – and you shouldn’t give up. Though the SSA rejects most initial applications, that doesn’t have to be the end of your claim. You have the option to appeal. Here’s what you should know about Reconsideration, the first step in the appeals process, and how working with an experienced Boston SSDI appeals attorney can help reduce your stress and increase your chances for approval. 

What Reconsideration Entails 

Reconsideration is an entirely new and independent evaluation of the evidence you submitted with your initial SSDI application. It’s an opportunity for your claim to be evaluated with fresh eyes, as reconsiderations are conducted by a disability examiner, a medical or psychological consultant, or a disability hearing officer who weren’t involved in the original determination. This is also your chance to provide any new medical evidence related to your condition or evidence you forgot to include with your application.

When You Can Request a Reconsideration 

The SSA denies claimants SSDI benefits for both medical and non-medical reasons. Regardless of whether you were denied because you were still working and making too much money (what the SSA considers engaging in substantial gainful activity) or due to insufficient medical evidence, you have just 60 days – roughly two months – to request a reconsideration. The clock starts counting down the date you received the denial letter, so time is of the essence. If you disagree with the SSA’s determination, you should take action as soon as possible.

Reasons for Requesting a Reconsideration 

Common reasons for filing a reconsideration request after an SSDI denial include:

  • You have new or additional medical evidence from acceptable medical sources (AMS) to support the severity or duration of your condition
  • Your medical impairment has worsened since you submitted your initial SSDI application
  • Your initial application failed to include job history information showing that you’ve worked long enough and recently enough to amass sufficient work credits to qualify for SSDI 
  • You’ve had to stop working or reduce your hours (and you’re earning below the substantial gainful activity cutoff, which is $1,470 per month in 2023)

Making a Reconsideration Request 

You – or a personal representative such as an SSDI attorney or disability advocate – can print, complete, and submit a physical Request for Reconsideration form (Form SSA-561) or fill out the form online (Form i561). The SSA will also accept any documentation, such as letters or additional evidence, that indicates your disagreement with the initial decision as an implied request for reconsideration, provided it’s submitted within the 60-day deadline.

What Happens Next 

When the SSA receives your request for reconsideration, one of two things could happen: The disability examiner could affirm the denial and deny the request or determine that the claim needs additional development and follow-up. The SSA is more likely to grant reconsideration requests if:

  • You’ve been diagnosed with a new condition 
  • Your previously documented impairments have worsened
  • You’ve undergone additional treatment since the denial determination 
  • You’ve experienced changes in functional limitations
  • The prior determination was based on a technical error 
  • You’re represented by a knowledgeable and experienced SSDI lawyer

How Our Boston Disability Lawyers Can Help With Your SSDI Appeal 

Up to 70 percent of SSDI claims are initially denied, often due to application errors or insufficient evidence from acceptable medical sources. While the SSDI appeals process gives you another chance to fight for the benefits you need and deserve, keeping up with deadlines, getting the necessary medical documentation, and dealing with all the paperwork can be grueling. Don’t go it alone. At Keefe Disability Law, our exceptional Boston SSDI attorneys can handle your application or appeal from start to finish – so that you can focus on your health and medical care. Ready to find out what our team can do for your SSDI claim?

Schedule a Free Consultation 

Call us at 508-283-5500 or complete our online contact form to schedule a complimentary consultation to have your SSDI questions answered by a member of our accomplished legal team. For more information, take advantage of a free instant download of our book, Unlocking the Mystery: The Essential Guide for Navigating the Social Security Disability Claims Process.


 
Patrick Hartwig
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Founding Attorney, Hartwig Law Firm