Earlier this year, a change to the Social Security Administration’s disability insurance claim evaluation process went largely unnoticed: the return of Reconsideration in five states.
Most people who apply for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) are denied at the initial application stage. After denial, they usually file an appeal to have their claim reviewed at a hearing with an administrative law judge (ALJ) who will make the final decision on their claim.
In ten states, however, someone who is initially denied will have to file an appeal at the Reconsideration level; five states already require it, and five more will in 2020. Appealing at the Reconsideration level could result in avoiding the many months most claimants have to wait before their hearing, but it is still likely to add three to six months to your claim before a final decision is rendered.
If you live in one of the ten states (California, New York, Louisiana, New Hampshire, Colorado, Missouri, Alaska, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Alabama), you are strongly encouraged to seek legal representation for your Reconsideration appeal. Any error in paperwork can result in an extension of time between your claim and your final approval, so it is best to have someone knowledgeable about the process helping you with the details and a timeline.