SSD & SSI Benefit Appeals Add New Step Called Reconsideration

Starting on Saturday, April 20th, 2019, Pennsylvania applicants for Social Security Disability (SSD) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits will have to complete a second level of appeal — called reconsideration — when their application is denied. This is not actually an entirely new process, but actually the reinstatement of a process that had previously been removed.

Back in 1997, Pennsylvania and 9 other states had a streamlined appeal process that eliminated the reconsideration process. When a claim was denied by the state agency responsible for that reviewing of a claim, the applicant filed a request for hearing with an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). However, once April 20th will mark the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) reinstatement of Reconsideration, a level of appeal between the application stage and the administrative hearing.

Will Reconsideration Be a Good Thing for Applicants?

Reconsideration is expected to add an additional delay of four (4) months to the processing of claims. Reconsideration is the first step in the review process after an initial claim is denied, and it can be requested 60 days after receiving notice of the denial. At the reconsideration stage, the claim will be reexamined by the state agency that evaluated the application in the first place. The person reviewing the case can evaluate any new evidence available to make their new decision.

An estimated 10% of claims are approved after a reconsideration. The majority of claims proceed to the second level of appeal, a hearing with the administrative law judge, where many still are denied.

In theory, reconsideration could act as another step for an applicant to have a denial reversed. Although, given the low approval rating for reconsideration, it might be the added step acts mostly as a significant delay in the overall process. Applicants are urged to work with an SSD attorney to make certain the process goes smoothly and avoids as many delays as possible.

Do you have questions about reconsideration, or about SSD and SSI applications in general? Metzger Wickersham in Pennsylvania can help. Call (888) 286-2850 to connect with our attorneys today. It is our goal to make certain every client gets every benefit they need and deserve!

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