If an initial claim for Social Security disability or SSI is denied, the claimant can request a reconsideration of the claim within 60 days of the date of that denial. At reconsideration, the previous evidence is reevaluated and any new evidence is considered, and a new determination is made.
Claims filed in the Region I after August 1, 2006 have been sent to the Office of the Federal Reviewing Official in Falls Church, Virginia for reconsideration. This new office was supposed to improve the reconsideration process. Unfortunately, that office has been overwhelmed by the number of cases, and what used to take a few weeks or months was taking several months or even longer. I have several clients with disability claims languishing at the FedRO level.
The Social Security Administration has now pulled the plug on the FedRO. By final rule published in the Federal Register on January 15, 2008 the SSA suspended the transfer of new claims to the FedRO. That rule has now taken effect in Maine and New Hampshire. That means that reconsideration of Maine claims will now be undertaken by DDS in Augusta. In New Hampshire, denied claims proceed directly to the ALJ level, as they did before the FedRO. The good news is that DDS is much faster than the FedRO. The bad news is that the claims currently at the FedRO will remain there until they are decided.