How Poppy Won Her Disability Reconsideration in 5 Easy Steps

artwork: Robin Mead

The reconsideration stage is a quick extra appeal step that only happens in some states.

Only 7% of people get approved during reconsideration stage. That’s low!

However, most people do not take any steps to help their reconsideration applications. Plus, nearly all of our readers have reported to us that their lawyers did little or nothing to help improve their chances during the reconsideration stage. So, 7% is actually high!

If you do anything at all, your reconsideration application will be better than most. That’s what Poppy did. And it worked.

Poppy had a hard case to get approved: She was only 24 years old, her doctor refused to help her with disability forms, she had been turned away by several lawyers, and the Social Security doctor had written in her files that she could walk over a mile and had no medical problems or limitations at all!

Many people told Poppy she would not get approved, but she didn’t listen. If Poppy can do it, you can do it too!

Poppy was too sick to do everything on her own, so her mother helped her. Here’s what Poppy and her mom did:

💮 They collected medical records. Poppy discovered that Social Security had not collected her emergency room records at all. They had collected some of her primary doctor’s records, but these were from many months ago. Poppy and her mom collected all her emergency room records, plus her past three months of records from her PCP. Bonus points: They did not use her online records, but went to the office and paid to get full records with treatment notes. How to Tell What is (and isn’t) in Your Social Security File. It is very common for important records to be missing from your Social Security file. If this happens to you, here’s How to Collect All Your Medical Records

💮 They got an RFC form. Poppy brought a RFC Function Form to her primary care doctor and asked the doctor to fill it out. At first her doctor said “I won’t do any disability paperwork” but Poppy tried some of the things on this page, and got her doctor to do it! How To Get Your Doctor to Fill Out Paperwork When Your Doctor Won’t Fill Out Paperwork

💮 They updated. When Poppy first applied, she was in school taking part-time classes online. Because of her illness, she had withdrawn from school, so she sent in new information to document her medical withdrawal from school. Of course, you may not be in school, but there may be other ways you can update your file. Short List of How To Improve Your Disability Application. Reconsideration decisions are fast, so you won’t have time to do a lot, but if you are interested in reading more ideas, here’s a Long List of How To Improve Your Application.

💮 They got a new test. Poppy thought it would be good to have at least one more medical test so she would have something new to submit with her reconsideration. She looked at different kinds of tests she could get. She tried to get an appointment with a neuropsychologist for neuropsych testing, but the quickest appointment was three months away. Then she called an Occupational Therapist to see about getting a functional capacity exam, but it cost $800. Finally, she got a referral to a rheumatologist. The rheumatologist was able to do a trigger point test and examine her for Fibromyalgia. Poppy collected the records from the exam. How to Get Medical Tests to Help Your Disability Application

💮 They waited. They gathered together all the material they needed: Request for Reconsideration Forms, RFC form from doctor, Emergency Room Reports, recent PCP records, plus record from rheumatologist assessment. They put all five of these things in one envelope. It took six weeks to put everything together. Once they had everything, Poppy’s mom hand delivered it all together to her local office.

💮 They made the deadline. Reconsiderations forms must be received in 60 days in their hand. You cannot miss this deadline under any circumstances. It is great to have as much as possible ready by this time, but the most important thing is not to miss the deadline.

Two months later, Poppy got approved.

How to Apply for Reconsideration

The reconsideration application is much, much (much) easier than what you filled out when you first applied. Here’s where you can find the forms and tips for answering questions: How to Request Reconsideration

When to Apply for Reconsideration

Reconsideration forms must be received in 60 days in their hands. Whatever happens, do not miss this deadline. The forms for reconsideration are much simpler than what you filled out when you first applied. If you have difficulty with these forms, you can make an appointment at your local Social Security office and someone there will fill the out for you.

Most people do not wait sixty days. Instead, they fill out the basic forms and send them back immediately. Poppy and her mom decided to wait so they could put more materials in with the forms. It worked for them, but you are certainly not required to do it this way.

Some people send back the basic forms right away, and then follow up with more records and materials afterwards. Sometimes this works. However, reconsideration decisions can sometimes happen quickly, and follow-up materials may not arrive in time to be considered – or they may arrive once a decision is already in process, which may make it more difficult to get a good outcome.

Poppy did not have a lawyer. If you decide to hire a lawyer, it is still good if you can take as many steps as possible to help your application yourself. Most of our readers report that their lawyers did little or nothing to really help their chances during the reconsideration stage. Lawyers often take more steps later on to help during hearing appeals.

Most people do not do anything special for their Reconsiderations. They just assume they probably won’t be approved at this point, so they send back the forms quickly. This way, they can move to the hearing stage without delaying the process.

If you don’t want to take any special steps for your reconsideration, this is perfectly fine. You can just return the forms. There is a 7% chance you will get approved, but most likely, you will wait for a hearing. The wait for a hearing is usually 1-2 years.

Learn More

How Poppy Got Her Medical Withdrawal from School

1 thought on “How Poppy Won Her Disability Reconsideration in 5 Easy Steps”

  1. I live in Los Angeles, it’s been over two years since I filed and I’m still waiting for my first hearing… I keep sending them my medical records but I never hear back. I guess each case is different. I celebrate her success, but it leaves me feeling pretty bad about my case. I feel like I’ve done all a person can do but no one cares. It’s a sad empty feeling wondering if you’ll ever have an income 😦


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