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Request for Reconsideration

Knowledgeable Legal Guidance for Social Security Applicants

Those who are unable to work because of a severe mental or physical condition may be able to pursue government benefits known as Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). In some instances, an applicant will find that his or her initial claim for benefits is denied by the Social Security Administration (SSA), which is responsible for managing the SSDI program. If this happens, you should not lose hope. There are several levels of appeal available to those who are disabled and seeking benefits. The first of these appeals processes is called a Request for Reconsideration (although, this process is not available in the State of New Hampshire: instead, claimants proceed directly to a Hearing before an Administrative Law Judge). Social Security attorney Russell J. Goldsmith can guide SSDI applicants through this process with the care and dedication that they need. He can help you collect medical documentation to support your case and craft compelling arguments supporting your eligibility for benefits.

Pursuing a Request for Reconsideration

A medical determination on an applicant’s initial claim is made by Disability Determination Services (DDS), which is the state agency responsible for evaluating the medical conditions of those who are seeking Social Security disability insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits. If DDS finds that an individual is not medically eligible for benefits (and their decision is cleared by the Social Security field office, after any potential review by Quality Review in Boston, MA), he or she may seek a reconsideration of that decision within 60 days of the denial (with an additional 5 days provided for mailing). Assuming one misses the deadline, one may be able to argue “good cause” for the late filing of the appeal. Examples for good cauase may include serious illness to you or a family member that made it impossible for you to address the appeal process timely.. SSA provides an online process for filing the Request for Reconsideration that can be quite cumbersome for those unfamiliar with the procedures: the assistance of a knowledgeable Social Security lawyer can help make this process go forward much more smoothly (and without the potential for missed or inaccurate information being provided based on a misunderstanding of the online process). form, both in paper and on line

Individuals who file a Request for Reconsideration essentially are asking DDS to review their file once again, with the new evidence that is provided on appeal: this will include the additional evidence DDS obtains on your behalf based on the additional evidence you provide them . At this level, DDS may ask for you to fill out additional forms that address the extent to which your condition impacts your ability to function as well as your past work history (in the event this was not already requested from you at the initial level, which is ordinarily the case in New Hampshire given there is no intermediate appeal prior to the need to Request a Hearing Before an Administrative Law Judge. Some of the forms include the Adult Function Report form, SSA -3373-BK: http://www.ssa.gov/forms/ssa-3373-bk.pdf. This form is requested to be filled out by the claimant, and a failure to give an accurate set of answers to these questions can prove very harmful to one’s claim. Likewise, the SSA may ask that a friend or relative fill out a similar form, addressing how they believe your ability to function has been impacted , what is called an Adult Function – Third Party Report, SSA-3380-BK: http://www.ssa.gov/forms/ssa-3380.pdf Finally, in addition to these forms, it is highly likely that DDS will ask you to address a Work History Report, wherein you’re asked to detail your work history for the 15 years prior to becoming disabled: Work History Report, SSA-3369-BK. http://www.ssa.gov/forms/ssa-3369.pdf

Each of these forms will provide DDS with a valuable sense of how you’ve been impacted in terms of your ability to function at home and, potentially, with tasks that would be necessary for other forms of work. The Work History Report likewise provides DDS with a sense of your past relevant work history, which is important as they are tasked with determining whether you are capable of performing any of the work you’ve performed in the 15 years prior to becoming disabled. The DDS worker will look at the demands of your past work (as detailed in your Work History Report) and will make a determination as to the extent to which you might be able to perform your past relevant work given the residual functional capacity you’re found to have.

In undertaking their medical determination, the examiner will consider whether you are suffering from a severe medical impairment that prevents you from performing substantial gainful activity for at least one year, or that is expected to result in death. This is the main medical requirement that applicants must establish to assert their eligibility for benefits. Some individuals may be deemed medically eligible because their condition satisfies the requirements of what is called one of Social Security’s Listings of Impairments.. Listings of impairments are a set of medical conditions that the Social Security Administration deems so severe that in meeting the requirements of the listing, the disabled claimant is automatically deemed medically eligible for benefits (as the condition is so severe there remains no need to ask the question as to whether they are capable of working. Assuming one does not meet a Listing of Impairment, DDS needs to assess the claimant’s Residual Functional Capacity (RFC) evaluation, that is to say, their ability to undertake functional activities such as sitting, standing, walking, lifting, carrying, etc. In doing so, they must apply the residual functional capacity to the claimant’s age, education, past work experience and then determine whether there is either past work or other work that the individual might be able to perform.

One of the main ways in which an applicant may try to strengthen an application for SSDI is by submitting additional medical documentation. By obtaining the assistance of a knowledgeable and aggressive Social Security disability lawyer, they will assist you in determining what additional medical information needs to be supplied to DDS and will work with you to obtain additional reports that may be of assistance in winning your claim.

Just as you should not be disheartened if your initial claim is denied, you should not get discouraged if your Request for Reconsideration is also rejected. There are additional levels of appeal that you can pursue if you choose, such as a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ), a hearing before the SSA Appeals Council, and even potentially a hearing before a Federal District Court judge.

You should be aware that you may seek legal representation throughout this process, as with your initial claim for benefits. You also do not need to worry about paying attorney fees up-front, since SSDI lawyers work on a contingency fee basis and recover compensation for their services only if you receive a favorable decision in your case. Any fees that an attorney eventually receives are limited by the Social Security Act (which limits fees to the lesser of 25% of the past due benefits awarded, or $7,200.00)), and which fees are subject to approval by the SSA.

Consult an Attorney When Appealing a Denial of Government Benefits

The Law Offices of Russell J. Goldsmith provides experienced and aggressive legal representation to applicants for Social Security disability insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) , whether you’re bringing a claim for the first time, trying to reopen a past claim some years ago or need to appeal a decision that has been recently denied. SSDI lawyer Russell J. Goldsmith has more than 34 years of experience in this area of the law. To consult the Law Offices of Russell J. Goldsmith, contact us online or call us toll-free at (800) 773-8622.