The Social Security Administration (SSA) has specific standards for those who want Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits. The condition has to prevent them from working and last for long enough to have a significant financial impact. The applicant also needs to have enough of a work history to have sufficient credits to qualify for benefits.
By the time you apply for SSDI, you may have hundreds of dollars in medical bills and weeks of missed work. You need help as soon as possible to catch up on your bills. Unfortunately, a significant number of workers coping with a major medical issue receive a rejection letter instead of an approval notice when they apply for SSDI benefits.
The first stage in the appeal process is a reconsideration. A reconsideration involves the same application you originally submitted undergoing review by another SSA professional. Why would that ever be necessary given the strict standards set by the SSA?
Those evaluating your application are only human
What seems like a life-and-death decision for you is just one file in a big caseload for the worker reviewing your SSDI claim. Their job is to look carefully at applications and make decisions about who really qualifies and who could potentially still support themselves without benefits.
Employees at the SSA see so many applications that they can make mistakes. Sometimes, exhaustion or burnout might mean that they don’t look at the paperwork as carefully as they should and deny you when other employees would quickly approve you.
They may have looked very closely at your paperwork and then denied you anyway if their experience on the job has made them particularly suspicious of certain medical conditions. Given how people have varying symptoms for the same condition, they might assume your medical condition causes less of an impact than it does because of cases they have handled before.
Having a different worker look over your application can help overcome that bias or correct those mistakes so that you get the SSDI benefits you need. While reconsiderations are typically only successful in a small number of cases, they are a crucial step for those who believe they qualify but did not receive initial approval for their SSDI claim.