How Poppy Won Her Disability Reconsideration in 5 Easy Steps

artwork: Robin Mead

The reconsideration stage is a quick extra appeal that only happens in some states. Only 7% of people get approved during reconsideration stage. That’s low!

However, from what we have seen, only about 2% of people take any steps to help their applications during reconsideration. So 7% is actually high!

If your state does not have a reconsideration stage, don’t worry. Everything on this page can help your application no matter what stage you are in.

Poppy is one of the few people we have met who took some steps to help her reconsideration. And she got approved. 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. Important: They did not use her online records, but went to the office and paid to get full records with treatment notes.

💮 They got an RFC form. Poppy brought an RFC forms to her primary care doctor and asked the doctor to fill it out. (See link below for copies of RFC forms)

💮 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 Because of her illness, she had withdrawn from school, so she sent in new information to document her medical withdrawal from school.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. See links below

💮 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, but the quickest appointment was three months away. Then she called an Occupational Therapist to see about getting a functioning exam, but it cost $800, and the therapist told her it might not be a good match for her condition. 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.

💮 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 & Where 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 them 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 and her mom did not hire a lawyer, which turned out OK for them, because many lawyers do not do anything to really help during the reconsideration stage. Lawyers usually take more steps 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

Tricky Questions You May be Asked During Reconsideration

How Poppy Got Her Medical Withdrawal from School

How to Collect All Your Medical Records (Keyword: All)

How To Improve Your Reconsideration Application (short list)

How To Improve Your Application (long list)

How to Get a Great RFC Function Form

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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