January 8, 2019

SSA Adds Another Step to the Disability Insurance Process In 10 States

Former workers can get disability benefits sooner with experienced representatives on their side

Belleville, Illinois — January 9, 2019 - The Social Security Administration (SSA) will reinstate the Reconsideration step of the disability adjudication process in 10 states beginning in 2019. Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) claimants in those states will need to prepare for a new and unfamiliar appeals process and potentially longer waits for their benefits, according to Allsup, the nation’s premier disability representation company.

Of all initial applications, 66 percent are denied and anyone who is denied can file an appeal at the Reconsideration level, possibly avoiding the months-long wait for a hearing before an administrative law judge (ALJ).

However, the Reconsideration process itself adds three to six months of processing time at Social Security. In fiscal years 2016 and 2017, only 13 percent of former workers were awarded benefits at this stage of the SSDI process. Having a representative with Reconsideration experience can improve the likelihood of success for applicants. Allsup reports an average approval rate of approximately double the national average for its customers at the Reconsideration level.

“The added appeal level can be an opportunity for those Allsup customers denied at the initial level to skip the lengthy wait for a hearing. But there are some important steps SSDI claimants should take to maximize their success when appealing their initial denial,” said Mike Stein, assistant vice president of Operations Strategy and Planning at Allsup. “If applicants working without a representative simply repeat mistakes they made in their initial filings, they will face an ever longer wait for benefits in these 10 former ‘skip states’.”

As of Jan. 1, 2019, Reconsideration has been reinstated in five states:

  • California (Los Angeles North and West Branches)
  • Colorado
  • Louisiana
  • New Hampshire
  • New York

It will be reinstated in the five remaining states on a rolling basis by June 26, 2020:

  • Pennsylvania: April 1, 2019
  • Alabama: Oct. 1, 2019
  • Michigan: Oct. 1, 2019
  • Missouri: Jan. 1, 2020
  • Alaska: March 1, 2020

The SSA also is working to train state Disability Determination Services (DDS) staff and adjudicators to efficiently and accurately process claims at this level. It announced plans to hire hundreds of new staff members to handle the influx of tens of thousands of Reconsideration claims in these 10 states. 

“Many of the claims examiners and administrative staff in these states have not worked on this level of the appeals process before,” said Steve Perrigo, Vice President and National Account Director at Allsup. “It will benefit both applicants and the SSA to have experienced representatives available to help guide claimants through this reinstatement process in their state and resolve any missteps common when introducing new processes.”

Out of the approximately 1.8 million claims awaiting a decision at all levels in 2018, there were approximately 129,000 at the Reconsideration level. This number is projected to increase to 177,000 pending claims by Sept. 30, 2019.

Allsup has helped more than 300,000 people to receive their SSDI benefits. The online tool empower by Allsup® combines an SSDI assessment for eligibility and Social Security disability application support, along with return to work guidance for those who may medically recover. Allsup’s average success rate on behalf of its customers is over 50 percent higher when compared with the national average of 34 percent.

Find more information about the Reconsideration process, how to apply for disability benefits, or getting back to work with a disability, by visiting TrueHelp.com.

By phone: Individuals who have been denied SSDI and are filing their Request for Reconsideration in these states: California (Los Angeles North and West Branches), Colorado, Louisiana, New Hampshire, and New York, may call (888) 217-3795 for assistance from the Allsup Disability Resource Center.

Written by

Rebecca Ray