By Vonda VanTil, Social Security Public Affairs Specialist
The Social Security Administration announced the reinstatement of the reconsideration, the first step in the disability appeal process, in Michigan beginning on October 1. This year, seven additional states–Alabama, California, Colorado, Louisiana, New Hampshire, New York, and Pennsylvania–reinstated the reconsideration.
A level of Social Security’s national disability appeals process since 1959, the reconsideration step was eliminated in ten states as part of a prototype to explore ways to re-engineer the disability process. Reinstating reconsideration restores a national, unified disability process and consistent due process for disability claimants across the country. It also leads to earlier allowance decisions for some at a lower administrative cost to taxpayers than if the first appeal of an initial claim goes directly to the hearing level to be heard by an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). People still have the right to appeal their reconsideration decisions at a hearing before an ALJ.
“Reinstating the reconsideration appeal in Michigan will help improve the disability process,” said Phyllis M. Smith, Regional Commissioner. “Some people appealing an initial disability claim decision will receive an allowance decision earlier in the process than they would if their appeal went directly to a judge at the hearings level.”
Michigan is one of ten states that have not had the reconsideration appeal since 1999. The remaining two states, Alaska and Missouri, will bring back reconsideration in 2020.
To learn more about Social Security’s disability process, see www.socialsecurity.gov/benefits/disability.
Vonda VanTil is the Public Affairs Specialist for West Michigan. You can write her c/o Social Security Administration, 3045 Knapp NE, Grand Rapids MI 49525 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.