The Reconsideration Level: What Is It and How Does It Affect My Claim?

Why Do I Have to File an Appeal for Reconsideration?

If your claim is denied at the initial level, you will typically have to have an appeal for “reconsideration” of that decision to proceed with your claim. At the reconsideration level, a disability examiner will further evaluate your claim and make a decision.  As this is simply the Social Security Administration re-evaluating its prior decision, an appeal at this level is unsuccessful, for the most part.

Who Makes the Reconsideration Determination?

A disability examiner at the Disability Determination Section makes the reconsideration determination. Most of the time, you will not see the disability examiner or even know his or her name.

What Are My Chances of Winning at Reconsideration?

Statistically, only about 20% of claims are awarded at the reconsideration level.

Do I Have to Go Through Reconsideration?

In most states, if you want to appeal a denial of Social Security disability benefits, you have to go through reconsideration. There is no way to avoid it.

In some states, however, you will be able to file an immediate request for a hearing before an administrative law judge after you are denied at the initial level.  These states are called “prototype states.”  These prototype states have abolished the reconsideration level in the determination of your claim and as such, you will not need to file for reconsideration before requesting a hearing before an administrative law judge.

The denial notice from Social Security will inform you of the next step in the process for your particular claim.

What Happens if I’m Denied at the Reconsideration Level?

As stated previously, very few claims are awarded at the reconsideration level and in many states this stage in the disability determination has been abolished all together. If you are denied at the reconsideration level, the next step in the process will be to file a “Request for Hearing” to have your case heard by an administrative law judge.