How To Improve Your Disability Request for Reconsideration

artwork: Robin Mead

The reconsideration stage is a quick extra appeal step that only happens in some states. Here’s where you can learnHow to Request Reconsideration

Only 12% of people get approved during reconsideration stage. That’s low!

However, most people do not take any steps to help their reconsideration applications. So, 12% is actually high!

If you do anything at all to help improve your application, you will be giving the person who reviews your file much, much more to reconsider. Here’s some ways that have worked well for other readers.


You do not have to do anything special before requesting reconsideration. If you wish to do something special, here’s four great things you can try:

1. Get Doctors Letters and Function Forms

A medical opinion letter or RFC Function form from your doctor can make a world of difference in your case. This is the very best thing you can do. Here’s How to Work with Your Doctor to Get DocumentationIf your doc doesn’t like paperwork: How To Get Your Doctor to Fill Out Disability Paperwork

2. Make Sure Your Letters & Forms Include Everything You Need

A doctor’s letter or form can help your case, or it can hurt your case, or it can be ignored. Learn about how to get the right kind of form, from the right kind of doctor, including the right kind of information. How to Get a Great RFC Function Form or How to Get a Great Letter

3. Check What’s Missing

This is optional. Some of our readers have found it helpful to request their case file on CD. If you find any important records were missing or something in your file is incorrect, this is good! It will give you new evidence to submit. How to Check Your File

4. Update

The records Social Security has for you now may be 3-6 months old. If you have any important recent tests or new records, or anything else important not in your file, you can submit this now, or list what’s missing on your request for reconsideration forms and then follow up to make sure Social Security actually got them. Best Way to Collect and Best Way to Submit

Veronica’s Story

“I never expected to be approved quickly because I am 24 years old and have multiple college degrees. I was approved at the reconsideration level in nine months. I had no lawyer, but I did a ton of research during the process and wanted to share my strategy and help others as much as possible.” – Read Veronica’s Story


New Medical Tests

There may not be time to schedule more tests before the recon, but if you’d like to try. For ME, CFS, and related conditions: How to Get Medical Tests. The most common test our readers report helping their case is testing for memory, focus and concentration: How to Get Neuropsychological Testing

Old Medical Tests

If you already have test results with abnormal results, you may not need more. Instead, you can work with your doctor to make sure the test results you already have get included in your RFC forms or letter. Also, check your file and make sure the test results are included (or submit them now).

More Bright Ideas

Reconsideration stage can sometimes be fast, and there may not be time to do a lot more. However, if you are looking around for ideas, here is… A Long, Long List of How To Improve Your Application.

Personal Statements?

Personal letters, statements, symptom diaries and letters from friends and families: It probably won’t hurt to include these things, but it may not help either. Again, reconsideration is quick! If you have limited time and energy, you may wish to focus on more important things

Daisy’s Story

“My best friend in the world, my mama, just got approved for Social Security Disability. I would like to tell you, there is no way I could have gotten her approved, without the steps of this website. She was approved without a lawyer, in the reconsideration process. It was the first time we applied.” – Read Daisy’s Story


Act Quick!

Deadline to submit Reconsideration forms is 60 days in their hands (not postmark). Get in as much as you can by that date. After you submit your Request For Reconsideration forms, you can still continue to submit more documents, but sometimes it is too late! Reconsideration decisions are sometimes made quickly – sometimes in one or two months. Get in as much as you can as quick as you can.

Tricky Questions

Here’s how to Answer Tricky Questions on Reconsideration Forms. Here’s where you can find forms to fill outHow to Request ReconsiderationDon’t forget: Sixty days in their hands.


Reader’s report that Social Security is now allowing them to upload attachments when they submit their Request for Reconsideration online. Missing and lost records are very common in Social Security cases. The best evidence in the world won’t help you at all if your Disability Examiner never sees it! It’s a really great idea to Stay In Touch with Your Disability Examiner


We are getting more reports from readers that the materials submitted online may never make it to your examiner. Please be sure to double check.

Lawyers & Advocates

Many of our readers report that disability lawyers told them that Request for Reconsideration is just a “rubber stamp denial.” We beg to differ! Reconsideration is our favorite stage! If you can get approved at this stage, you won’t have to wait another two years and endure a hearing. Why give up without trying?

Lawyers may not do a lot during the reconsideration stage, but many lawyers help a great deal more during hearing appeals. Magnolia used to work as a Disability Examiner. Here’s what she shared about: Does Hiring a Lawyer Help a New Application or Reconsideration?

Poppy’s Story

Two months later, Poppy opened her bank account and noticed a bunch of money in there! No one told her, but she had gotten approved. Read Poppy’s Story

Don’t Do This!

Try not to do these things: How to Kill Your Application


🌷 This page is part of the free online guide: The Sleepy Girl Guide to Social Security Disability 

🌷 Art on this page by Robin Mead and Elizabeth D’Angelo.

🌷 Page Updated: 7/1/19


🌷 Please comment below with stories, ideas, questions or suggestions. Please let us know if any links on this page stop working. 

🌷 If you found this page helpful, please share it with others by pressing one of these magic little buttons: 

12 thoughts on “How To Improve Your Disability Request for Reconsideration”

  1. Hi, I just submitted my appeal. I don’t have any current doctors as I haven’t worked in 8 months. Is my case a loss until I go to the emergency room?


  2. FINALLY!! This is one of the first worthy [HELPFUL] articles I’ve found in my search for getting Disability approval with my EDS diagnosis!! THANK YOU for sharing!!!!! I’ve learned sooo MUCH.


  3. Hi thank you for your site. I have appealed by claim but they are asking for me to fill out the Functional Report again and I am confused because no where online does it say I have to redo forms for an appeal. Can you explain the appeals process and corresponding forms? How do I ask for a hearing and what is that?


    1. Was your appeal a request for reconsideration or a request for a hearing?

      They do send out the forms again sometimes… it gives you a chance to update and give more current information in case your functioning has changed at all. 🙂


  4. I hope so too. I am getting a notification of a letter has arrived in my po box… the sender is the SSA Office of Central Operations. I have never gotten a letter from this unit before. So I am hoping it is a APPROVAL!


  5. I am glad to hear some good news. My process has been going on for 5 years. I am applying for my child. The first time in 2013, I took it all the way to the Supreme process. The second time in 2015 I went as far as ALJ. Had a strong enough case that the judge allowed me additional time to get an attorney and organize, drive my selling point home. But NO ONE took my case. Mainly because the judge was giving me 21 days to obtain one, and then another 30 days before the reassigned hearing date. So, the final decision came in July 2017. NO APPROVAL. I decided to start from the beginning again. February 2018. Denied. May 29, 2018 Reconsideration. Still waiting.

    While waiting.
    What type of Notice comes from OCO (Office of Central Operations)?


  6. My attorney has done NOTHING to move this along and help.

    This site made such a huge difference for me and in so many lives. Everyone who writes here should win a gold medal for what you do to help all of us. Thank you so much💕


  7. I just received my disapproval letter for SSI today and obviously everyone who receives this letter never takes it well. I’m not gonna give up though. I’m looking up some lawyers on Google and I found some really nice ones with lots of good reviews in my state and apparently they’re very fast so I will be putting my trust in them and hope to God and the universe that everything works out. Something inside of me is telling me not to give up and I hope that is the case.


  8. 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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