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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:

Request a CD

When you’re working at the reconsideration level, it is beneficial to request a CD of your client’s Social Security Administration record. The CD reveals what is in the disability file, enabling you to develop the case efficiently and strategically. Without the CD, you’re less likely to be prepared; alternatively, reviewing the CD will provide important insights that can help you win your case.

Use Information from the Disability Determination Explanation

At the reconsideration level, you’re given a preview of the case. 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 Step 4 and Step 5

After receiving the CD containing your client’s disability record, review the DDE and medical evidence in the file. This information will allow to move ahead with a clear strategy and win your case.

If you're new to the reconsideration level and/or would like to learn more strategies for winning cases, schedule an appointment to improve your productivity and increase your success!

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