The Reconsideration Process: How to Appeal a Social Security Disability Denial
What do you do when you’ve received a denial letter titled a Notice of Determination? First and foremost, you only have sixty (60) days to file your appeal. So you must be sure to file the appeal within this time to make sure it is on time.
Reconsideration: Reconsideration is the required first step in the appeal process in Florida when you are unhappy with the initial decision.
Reconsideration involves a thorough reexamination of all evidence on record. The person reviewing the case will make the reconsideration determination based on all of this evidence. He or she must have had no involvement in the initial determination.
Who May Request a Reconsideration
A claimant to any initial decision who can show in writing that his or her benefit rights were incorrectly decided in the initial determination may request a reconsideration. The claimant, an authorized appointed representative (such as an attorney), or a representative payee can make the request for appeal on behalf of the claimant.
What Constitutes a Request For Reconsideration
Any writing or timely submission of additional evidence by the claimant, his or her representative payee or his or her authorized representative after receipt of a notice of initial determination which clearly indicates disagreement with the initial determination constitutes a request for reconsideration. A request for reconsideration can be expressed or implied, but it must be in writing. An oral inquiry, such as a phone call to the Social Security Field Office, or request for forms is not a valid request for reconsideration and does not protect a request for appeal. The field office must receive a written request for appeal. A writing is the receipt of any documentation, including a letter, facsimile, or submission of additional evidence which clearly indicates or implies the claimant’s disagreement with the initial determination.
NOTE: SSA will accept faxed appeal requests.
What Is Not a Request For Reconsideration
A mere request for information or an explanation of SSA’s determination is not a proper Request for Reconsideration.
Dismissal of a request for reconsideration is the rejection of or refusal to accept the request. The effect of a dismissal is to make Social Security’s initial decision final.[Note: A dismissal is not subject to appeal.]
When to Request Reconsideration
The appeal period is generally 60 days. The 60 days start the day after the individual receives the notice of the determination or decision. The date that the individual receives the notice is presumed to be 5 days after the date on the notice unless the individual can show us that he or she did not receive it within the 5 days. [Exception: The 5 days for mailing does not apply when the notice is handed to the claimant.]
When the period for requesting the next appellate step ends on a Saturday, Sunday, legal holiday or any other day (all or part of which is a nonworkday for Federal employees by statute or Executive Order), the period is extended to include the next full workday. If an appeal is mailed to Social Security, and using the date it actually receive the appeal would result in the loss or lessening of the claimant’s rights, Social Security will accept the U.S. Postal Service stamp cancellation or “postmark” date on the envelope in which it is mailed. If the postmark is unreadable or there is no postmark, Social Security considers the appeal timely filed if it receives the appeal by the 70th day after the date on the notice of the determination or decision being appealed.[Note: A claimant has 30 days to file exceptions with the Administrative Law Judge’s final decision after court remand.]
How to Request A Reconsideration
Formally on an SSA-561-U2 (Request for Reconsideration) or informally by letter or any other writing. You must file documents or other evidence which clearly indicates a disagreement with the initial denial.
Where to Submit A Request For Reconsideration
Any SSA office, the Veterans Administration Regional Office in the Philippines, or any Railroad Retirement Board office if claimant has performed service in the railroad industry.
Reconsideration On SSA’s Own Motion
Social Security may not reconsider a determination on its own motion. However, without a request from the claimant, Social Security may correct an error in an initial determination in a case under the rules of administrative finality.
Notice Of Reconsidered Determination
The Notice of Reconsideration notifies the claimant of the basis of the determination and informs him or her of the right to a hearing.
Your Right to An Attorney
You can hire an attorney at any time in the application process. The Ortiz Law Firm offers free consultations. Call 850-898-9904 for your free case evaluation.