Requesting Reconsideration Using a Lawyer if a Disability Claim is Denied
If you have filed for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI or SSD) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits, and your application for disability has been denied, you have the right to file an appeal of the denial. The first stage of appeal in Florida is the Request for Reconsideration. You can either file a reconsideration appeal on your own or find an attorney to represnt you and file the appeal.
You Are Likely to be Denied Again After Your Request for Reconsideration
If your initial application is denied, then it is very likely that your reconsideration appeal will be denied as well. A lawyer may be able to help you turn things aground if you left out important information in your application; however, there is no guarantee.
If your reconsideration request is denied, you will have to file a second appeal ton continue with your claim. The second appeal is decided by an administrative law judge (ALJ) at a disability hearing. Before your hearing you should have legal counsel.
Numerous studies have shown that ALJs are significantly more likely to approve disability benefits to those who are represented than to those who represent themselves. Statistically, less than 40% of unrepresented individuals who apply for SSI or SSDI and have their case heard before a administrative law judge (ALJ) will end up winning disability benefits. About 70% of individuals who are represented by an attorney will end up winning disability benefits.
Be Aware of the Deadline
Anyone can file their own appeal online or at their local Social Security District office. However, many of those who choose to file reconsideration appeals on their own have a tendency to procrastinate, sometimes to the point of missing the appeal deadline. Always remember that Social Security only allows 60 days from the date of denial (plus 5 additional “grace” days to allow for mailing time) for an appeal to be filed at the Social Security office.
A surprising number of disability claimants who fully intended to file an appeal miss this deadline. Most of these make the mistake of thinking that the deadline only means that their request for reconsideration has to be postmarked within 60 days from when they received their notice of denial. But tt actually has to be in the Social Security office, not just postmarked, within 65 days of the date stamped on the denial letter. This is one reason why it is a good idea to get a lawyer before you file an appeal. A good disability lawyer will file all appeal paperwork for you on time.
If You Want Help, Seek it Early On In the Process
If you do decide to hire a disability attorney for your reconsideration appeal (or for a disability hearing), do not put this task off until it is too late for the lawyer to be of any real help to you. In order to act on your behalf in proceedings before the Social Security Administration, your lawyer must have certain forms signed, such as an Appointment of Representative, an attorney fee agreement, and permission to get your medical records (Form SSA-827, which is a medical record release form). If you wait too long to hire an attorney, you may not allow enough time to complete the forms, and you may end up having to request an appeal on your own so that you do not miss the 60-day deadline.