You make contributions to Social Security with each paycheck, but you probably know very little about the benefits programs. Most people hope to never need benefits other than retirement payments, as Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits are only available to those with significant, persistent medical conditions.
To qualify for benefits, you usually need proof of a medical condition that leaves you unable to work and that will last for at least a year, if not longer. If you took the time to apply for SSDI benefits, you clearly believe that you qualify because of your medical condition.
Unfortunately, there is no guarantee that the employee from the Social Security Administration (SSA) reviewing your application will share your opinion. Many individuals who apply for SSDI benefits receive a rejection notice rather than a benefits approval letter. Rejected applicants do have the right to appeal, and the first stage of appeal is a reconsideration. How do you prepare for a reconsideration?
Learn from your initial application
Typically, you should receive an explanation for why the SSA rejected your application. Whether you didn’t submit sufficient medical evidence or made a technical error, reconsideration is an opportunity to correct that mistake.
You can gather additional documentation, possibly by seeing medical specialists, to help show to the SSA employee reconsidering your application that you do actually meet the standard for having a disabling medical condition and therefore deserve benefits.
What if your reconsideration doesn’t succeed?
As with initial applications, many reconsiderations are not successful. A significant portion of the applicants may need to go on to an appeals hearing in front of an administrative law judge to finally get the benefits they require.
One of the positive consequences of moving forward with an appeal instead of reapplying is that you can potentially get benefits going back to when you first qualified after applying. Or course, if you struggled with your initial application, trying to manage an appeal without support may not be the best approach. You may require professional assistance to improve your chances of success.
Understanding why your SSDI benefits application was not successful and taking the necessary steps to address those shortcomings will increase your chances of a successful appeal.