When someone has a medical condition that affects their independence or job, they may turn to disability benefits. Although some people have private disability coverage, many Americans depend on federal benefits if they suffer a disabling injury or get diagnosed with a life-altering condition.
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is a crucial safety net for working adults. Provided that you have paid enough into the Social Security system through payroll taxes, you may be able to receive benefits that help replace your lost income when you have a disabling medical condition.
SSDI can help you pay your mortgage and other basic expenses when a condition leaves you unable to earn income. Unfortunately, even qualified applicants with serious medical concerns sometimes don’t get approved right away when they apply. These individuals will have to appeal the initial denial of their application.
What exactly is reconsideration?
There are four different kinds of appeals for those denied SSDI benefits. The first kind of appeal is reconsideration. This step involves the applicant requesting that someone else at the Social Security Administration (SSA) look at their application to see if they qualify.
Personal bias about certain medical conditions or even the first name of an applicant could lead to an SSA employee denying someone with a real need for SSDI. The opinion of one worker should never be enough to permanently deny someone the right to SSDI benefits.
In cases where someone did not make a mistake on their application and believes they submitted enough medical documentation to prove they qualify for benefits, reconsideration is an important step. If it is unsuccessful, the applicant can then move on to the second level of appeal, which involves review by an administrative law judge.
How successful are reconsideration requests?
The SSA tracks the outcome of disability benefit applications. They look at the kind of denials people received and the awards these initially denied applicants get after they appeal. Reconsideration averages about a 2% success rate.
One in fifty applicants could get benefits after a denial just by having a different SSA employee look at their documents. The rest may need to pursue more in-depth appeals. Navigating the various stages of SSDI appeals can be difficult but all that will be necessary for qualified applicants to get the benefits they need.