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What comes after an SSDI denial?

On Behalf of | Apr 21, 2024 | Social Security Appeals

You filed for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits and waited – then waited some more – only to end up with a denied claim.

What comes next? You need to file a Request for Reconsideration. Here’s what you need to know about the process:

Approval rates are dismally low

Reconsiderations follow essentially the same process as an initial claim. Once you make your request, you’ll be asked to provide updated information about your medical condition, doctor’s visits, hospitalizations and other details relevant to your claim. 

Then, your file will be routed back to the state’s Disability Determination Services (DDS) for another look. It will go to a different claims examiner, and a different medical professional will ultimately review your file and either affirm the prior decision – which means a second denial – or approve your claim.

Roughly only 15% of claims are approved upon reconsideration in New Jersey, however. The vast majority will be denied again. If that happens to you, you’ll be forced to request a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) to try to get your claim approved – and that can turn into a very long process.

So, what can you do to improve your odds of success during your reconsideration? Consider these steps:

  • Read your denial letter. There should be information in there that helps you understand why your claim was denied and what you can do to overcome the problem. If a doctor or hospital didn’t provide critical records to DDS, for example, pick them up yourself and send them with your reconsideration request.
  • Carefully explain your limitations. You can include a letter with your claim that explains exactly how limited you are – and you should do so, in detail. The more specific you are when you paint a picture for DDS of your limitations, the better.
  • Talk to your medical provider. While you don’t need your doctor’s permission to apply for SSDI, it can help to have their support. Make sure they know to expect contact from DDS and are willing to fill out any paperwork they’re sent with their honest assessment of your condition. 

You certainly don’t want to give up on your SSDI claim after an initial denial, but you need to acknowledge the reality that overcoming the denial is going to take some skillful work. Experienced legal support can give you the best odds of approval during your appeal.