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Gain an Advantage at the Reconsideration Level: Helpful Strategies for SSD Representatives

Many Social Security Disability representatives in protype states are experiencing an additional level of the appeals process: the reconsideration level. As the Social Security Administration (SSA) promised, it is eliminating protype states; by 2020, all states will have the reconsideration level of the appeals process. As a Social Security Disability representative, it is important to utilize information at the reconsideration level to your advantage. Here are two strategies you can use at the reconsideration level to win more cases:

Use Information from the Disability Determination Explanation

At the reconsideration level, you’re given a preview of the case. Get a copy of the file or access to the record. At this time, a nonexamining reconsideration level medical and/or psychological consultant reviews the file and completes the Disability Determination Explanation (DDE), found in the A section of the record. Within the DDE, a Vocational Specialist provides a cursory review of past relevant work and identifies any transferable skills as well as other jobs the Claimant can perform. Use the information from the DDE to build a focused, strategic plan for winning the Social Security Disability claim at the reconsideration and/or hearing level.

In the DDE, the consultant(s) report the following:

  • Severe impairments

  • Listings considered

  • Consultative Examinations performed or recommended

  • Relevant medical evidence with analysis

  • Residual Functional Capacity

  • Past Relevant Work

  • Determinations at Steps 4 and 5

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