Once Social Security denies your initial application you have to file an appeal. This appeal is called a request for reconsideration (RFR). You need to do this within 60 days of Social Security denying your application. This is an excellent time to contact me so we can begin to work together on your case.
But what exactly is an RFR and what happens after I file one?
In theory, the RFR is you asking Social Security to take another look at the evidence in your case to see if they wish to change their minds. In practice, it is an essentially useless step in the process whose real purpose has nothing to do with the merits of your claim.
Let me explain.
Your Request For Reconsideration Is Going To Fail
The odds of Social Security approving you based on an RFR are extremely low. Consider that this appeal goes directly back to the people who denied you the
first time. The very same office. Social Security might note that they will assign your case to a different disability examiner (DE) than the one who made the initial denial. To which I say: So what? Consider the DE who gets your RFR. She obviously knows that her coworker in the next cubicle has already denied you. How much effort is this DE going to put into deciding if her coworker (and friend) got it wrong? Somewhere around no effort at all. The RFR is an exercise is moving paper around from one hand to the oher without changing the result.
So, Why Do It At All?
So why does Social Security require this fruitless appeal? In my opinion, the answer is to delay the process. The longer Social Security takes on a claim, the more likely it is that the claimant will be forced back to work despite her illnesses, die, or just plain give up. Each time a claimant abandons her claim, Social Security wins. Little wonder, then, that they employ pointless steps like the RFR to slow things down.
Some years back, Social Security experimented with dropping the RFR. They tried this in several low-population states to see what would happen. We cannot be sure of the results of this experiment. But we do know that Social Security gave up on this plan and brought back the RFR in those states. That tells you something if you are paying attention.
Do I Even Want To Win My RFR?
It is debatable whether you even would want to win your RFR. This is because on those rare occasions when Social Security does grant a case at this stage, they stick it to the claimant in another way. The trick here is to find that the claimant became disabled, but to say that the disability started very recently. This has the effect of forcing the claimant to surrender back benefits she was likely entitled to in order to start getting monthly checks. Most people in this situation have no option but to accept whatever onset date Social Security picked. Keep in mind, Social Security offers no explanation for the date they chose to begin your benefits. Rather, they simply state "We found you became disabled on thus-and-such date." Don't like it? Go ahead and appeal and wait two or more years to see a judge. When you do see that judge, keep in mind that he could take away all of your benefits which would force you to repay what you did get.
Winning Is Losing. Losing Is Winning.
So, what is the best outcome when you file your RFR? To get denied as fast as possible. Social Security is wasting your time with this step and the less of your
time they waste, the better. For most claimants, you are going to need to get in front of a judge to get approved. A speedy denial of your RFR gets you to that step faster. If you hire me before filing an RFR we can work together to get through this step and onto the judge as fast as possible. There are some steps you can take at this stage to improve your chances of a earlier denial.
It may seem counter intuitive to hope Social Security denies your appeal. But in practice, it is likely the best thing that can happen to you.