|Natalia Jofre:||Hello, and welcome to Hill & Ponton’s Disability Blog. This is Natalia Jofre. I am the Social Security Section Director here for our firm.|
|Shelly Mark:||I am Shelly Mark. I am the Senior Social Security Attorney with the firm.|
|Natalia Jofre:||In our last blog we talked about if you’re denied you can file an appeal. It’s called a Request for Reconsideration. We made some recommendations regarding how to actually submit that appeal to Social Security and pitfalls that you should basically avoid when doing that. So, now once it’s actually submitted, your local law office is going to forward it to your disability determinations office.|
|There, it’s going to get assigned to an examiner, and that examiner’s going to look at whether they feel that you are now disabled. So, in other words, they’re going to reevaluate your claim and whatever information you have submitted since the initial application. They’re going to ask you a series of questions. They may send you for a doctor’s evaluation. They will definitely send you forms to complete, which are basically an update of everything you gave them the first time around.|
|One of the issues that we see a lot of our clients encounter is that they don’t want to complete those forms. They feel like nothing has changed. This isn’t important. Social Security’s playing games. They’re trying to compare what I said now to what I said before and so they’re trying to trick me, and nothing has changed, so I’m not going to fill these out.|
|Natalia Jofre:||Huge mistake.|
|Shelly Mark:||Yeah. It’s a huge mistake because there’s, the likelihood is that it’s going to be another denial unless there’s some information that would change the examiner’s opinion as to why this decision should now be a favorable decision, when at the initial level it was unfavorable. What happens at that point is that if it is a denial we have to go to the third level of Social Security or the hearing level and request a hearing with an administrative law judge, which is fine; however, there’s a very lengthy wait to actually get the hearing.|
|Natalia Jofre:||Yeah. So, whether it’s a very slim chance that you’re going to be approved at the reconsideration, and that is a reality. On average, 95% of cases are denied again, but the thinking behind that is that I don’t want to complete this because nothing has changed. You really should still complete those forms and submit them, for a couple of reasons.|
|One being that the longer you take to submit them, the longer Social Security is going to take to issue a decision, so it’s going to increase your wait time. Secondly, if you either don’t fill it out and don’t submit it or don’t respond to their request for contact, they’re going to put in your decision that you were either noncompliant or that you were denied because you didn’t basically give them the information that they wanted, or that you were a contact problem. All of those things will reflect negatively on you and your claim once you have to go before a judge at the hearing level.|
|Shelly Mark:||Definitely. Those forms at the initial and the reconsideration level, they stay part of the file the entire time. Even when we go to hearing, during the hearings on several occasions, judges have referenced them specifically as to whether why didn’t this person go to their examination or why didn’t they complete these forms, or why are their forms different than what they’re saying now at the hearing. So, it’s really important that they are accurate.|
|Natalia Jofre:||I have seen claims where basically the person gets to the hearing level, and if the judge feels that the claim wasn’t evaluated properly or thoroughly at the reconsideration level, we’ve seen them send them back.|
|Shelly Mark:||Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yeah.|
|Natalia Jofre:||I mean, it’s not common but it has happened a few times, and so you should just avoid all that by cooperating with them and giving them what they want at that level.|
|Shelly Mark:||Yeah. Definitely. If you’re represented by an attorney, then if it were our client, we would definitely be encouraging them and advising very strongly to complete the forms or ask us for any assistance with the forms.|
|Natalia Jofre:||Yeah. So, once you submit all of that information, the disability examiner will make a decision. They’ll then send it back to your local office. Your local office will actually issue you the decision, and that’s when you’ll know if you were either approved or denied. Like I said, 95% of cases are denied. So, if that happens, you then need to file another appeal, and I think we’ll talk about that some more in our next blog.|
|Natalia Jofre:||All right. Well, thanks for joining us. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact our office or visit our website. Otherwise, we’ll see you next time.|
|Shelly Mark:||Thank you.|
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