Although there is a lot of misinformation spread about government benefit programs, many urban legends have some kernel of truth to them. Some of the myths that people share about Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits, for example, actually have a basis in reality.
For starters, the claim that many people have to appeal to get benefits is founded in reality. A significant percentage of applicants do not receive benefits when they initially apply but rather when they appeal an unfavorable initial decision. The Social Security Administration (SSA) processes initial applications and also offers multiple different levels of appeal for those initially denied benefits.
The first stage of appeal is the reconsideration stage. What does this process typically involve?
Reconsideration involves an internal review
The SSA depends on a combination of specialized software and professional review by its workers to ensure the right people get benefits. Those who fail to meet the strict criteria for benefits get rejected. However, the focus on avoiding fraud and unjustified distributions often means that qualified applicants receive such harsh consideration that they don’t get the benefits they deserve.
Those who appeal an SSDI rejection will have several opportunities to change the outcome of their claims. The first stage is an internal reconsideration. Reconsideration involves having a second worker review the SSDI benefits application.
Everything from a worker’s mood on the day that they reviewed someone’s paperwork to their prior history with claims could influence how they handle an individual’s application. They might subconsciously associate a specific medical condition with fraud, for example.
The applicant requesting the reconsideration has an opportunity beforehand to resubmit paperwork that previously included errors or to add supplemental medical evidence to their paperwork. When successful, the reconsideration process can lead to a worker getting approved for benefits within a few weeks of their initial rejection.
What if reconsideration doesn’t work?
Applicants don’t request specific forms of appeal. Instead, they go in a specific order. Reconsideration is first, and when it is unsuccessful, then the applicant can move on to a hearing in front of an administrative law judge.
Those who are concerned about the outcome of a recent SSDI application or who are curious about how to appeal after a rejection will benefit from learning more about what the appeals process involves. Getting help from a legal professional when handling an SSDI application or appeal can take much of the stress and uncertainty out of these processes.