If you are thinking about filing for social security disability benefits it is important to understand the process. The Social Security Administration has divided this process into 5 basic steps or stages. The cycle of an SSD claim can be quite lengthy so having a basic understanding of each step will be helpful. Last week I reviewed the first step. This article will review the second step, if your first application was denied. This stage is referred to as the first appeal or reconsideration.
Stage 2: Reconsideration Level or First Appeal
Step 2 happens when your initial application for social security disability benefits has been denied. This first appeal step, reconsideration, is your first opportunity to have the initial decision reversed. However, you only have 60 days from the date of the denial letter to contact the Social Security Administration. Sometimes you miss the deadline due to circumstances beyond your control. The Social Security Administration doesn’t typically grant extensions, but, if you have missed your deadline, talk to an experienced attorney about your options.
A reconsideration is a complete review of your claim by someone who did not take part in the first decision. They will look at all the evidence submitted when the original decision was made, plus any new evidence you may have supplied.
A few things to note:
- The average time required to work through this Step 2 (first appeal) is between three and five months.
- At this step only about 13% to 15% of the claims are granted.
- If you are denied at this stage, and don’t worry most claims get denied at this stage, you will get another notice, similar to the first, explaining your right to appeal again. This second appeal, or Step 3, is an opportunity to have your case heard before an Administrative Law Judge, i.e. request for hearing.
Are you starting to see why this process is so lengthy? For more information, click here. Remember, working with a lawyer can help keep this process on track so you can get the disability coverage you deserve.