Reconsideration Stage of Disability Appeals Process Returning to All States

By , Attorney

Social Security is ending testing in states where the agency was trying out changes to the disability determination process. The tests included skipping the reconsideration phase of the appeals process and allowing a single decision maker to decide initial disability applications (without the opinion of a doctor).

Reconsideration is again the first stage of appeal in the following five states: California (Los Angeles North and Los Angeles West only; the rest of the state already had the reconsideration stage of appeal), Colorado, New Hampshire, New York, and Louisiana. This applies to residents in these locations who receive an initial denial for SSDI or SSI on or after January 1, 2019.

As of April 20, 2019, reconsideration has been reinstated in Pennsylvania. Claimants in Pennsylvania who receive an initial denial for SSDI or SSI on or after April 20, 2019 will have to request a reconsideration review before being able to request an appeal hearing.

Reconsideration will be reinstated in the remaining four states according to this tentative schedule, but in any case no later than June 26, 2020:

  • Alabama: October 2019
  • Michigan: October 2019
  • Missouri: January 2020
  • Alaska: March 2020

After reconsideration is added back in Alaska, all 50 states and the District of Columbia will have a national appeal process that includes reconsideration, an appeal hearing, an appeal to the Appeals Council, and then filing a claim in federal court.

In addition, Social Security phased out the use of "single decision makers" (SDMs) in several states in October 2018. Now, a medical consultant (doctor or psychologist) who works for Social Security must sign off on all disability determinations, in all states.