Reconsideration is the second phase of the SSDI application process. When an initial application for disability benefits is rejected (which is about 70% of the time), the next step is usually1 to ask for “Reconsideration.”
In Reconsideration, the same office that evaluated your initial SSDI application (but different people in that office) will review the application a second time, along with any new information you submit, to see if you actually should have been approved.
What Happens at Reconsideration?
When an Initial Application has been denied, the applicant has 60 days to notify the Social Security Administration that they want to have their application Reconsidered. Then, it usually takes about 3 to 6 months for a Reconsideration to be processed, but it can sometimes take more.
If the claims examiners find that you should have been approved, that your denial was mistaken or inappropriate, you will be awarded your benefits. However, this is rare – only 12% to 15% of applications are approved at Reconsideration. Most likely, your application will be denied again. But don’t worry – that’s not the end of the line. If you are rejected at Reconsideration, you can ask for a Hearing.
Reasons to Keep Fighting
The chances for receiving benefits are far greater with appeals than just walking away, which is guaranteed to end with no benefits. Many people will just give up after their first denial of benefits. Either they become discouraged (which is understandable) or they don’t realize they have the option of appealing a negative decision (which is also understandable – the process can be confusing!). But not continuing to fight for one’s benefits is almost always a significant error on the part of these individuals.
Typically, you should keep fighting because oversights, errors and misunderstandings may lead to unjust decisions during the entire appeals process. There are certain (rare) situations where pausing the fight is a smart idea, but these decisions should always be made in concert with a qualified advocate or representative.
Our team of disability specialists will increase your chances for success during the appeals process. Remember that roughly 70 percent of initial applications are denied.
Should I Just Re-File A New Application?
Many people make the mistake of filing a new application after their first application was denied, while they’re still within the time window for an appeal. Others don’t act quickly enough to take advantage of the appeal option, and thus are forced to file a new application after the right to appeal has expired.
It is much less likely that a second, third, or fourth new application will be more successful than an appeal. You are much more likely to be approved for benefits if you keep fighting through the appeals process than if you keep filing new applications with the same information. If nothing has changed in your application, there’s a strong chance the decision will stay the same, too. And, it’s quite possible that the same claims examiner will review your new application.
Do not forget that if you keep filing applications and one day it is approved, you will usually not qualify for back pay related to the time spent filing the previous applications and waiting for decisions on them. But, when your benefits are approved during the appeals process, which could take more than a year, you are more likely to be awarded a greater amount of the potential back-due benefits.
Reconsideration, and Appeals In General, Make More Sense
People who continue with the appeals process and have representation (such as from advocates like Citizens Disability) are much more likely to eventually have their benefits approved at some point during the appeals process. This may not be until the highest levels of the appeals; however, it is likely to occur at some point and much more likely than if you give up or just keep filing new applications.
 Note that in Alabama, Alaska, Michigan, and Missouri, the Reconsideration option will not be available until late 2019 or early 2020; before then, any initial applications that are denied would go straight to Hearing if the applicant appealed.