Social Security will reinstate the request for reconsideration (RFR) appeal in ten states over the next two years. The RFR is the appeal Social Security disability applicants file after Social Security denies their initial applications.
The 13% Solution
In theory, the RFR gives Social Security a chance to correct a wrong decision. Social Security would like you to believe that the RFR is a second, thorough and fair review of a disability application. In fact,
it is none of those things. The proof of this is that a Social Security approves a mere 13% of RFR appeals.
But, Wait--It's Worse Than That
Worse still, most of these 13% approvals are done to ensure that the applicant gets as little back benefits as possible. Most of the RFR approvals I see find that the applicant became disabled only weeks or months before filing their RFRs. Essentially, Social Security will only approve an RFR where they have no other option (the claimant is dying, for example.) But, Social Security will make sure that the applicant benefits as little as possible despite approving the RFR.
One Purpose Only: Delay
In practice, the RFR has only one purpose: Delay. The RFR adds anywhere from 3-6 months to the
process. Social Security disability applicants have to get through the RFR before they can request to see a judge. The current wait, just to see the Social Security judge, is around two years.
Disability Delayed Is Disability Denied
Why would Social Security add to the already-unconscionable delays when the RFR produces almost no approvals? Because the longer the process drags on, the more disability applicants give up, disappear, or even die. Social Security has made the calculation that delaying claims saves them money. Thus, the RFR.
The ten states where the RFR is coming back are:
As of Jan. 1, 2019, Reconsideration has been reinstated in five states:
- California (Los Angeles North and West Branches)
- 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