Question 759: I am a widow of a railroad worker. According to my doctors,
I am disabled. I submitted all necessary documents to the RRB and I was denied disability benefits. I did not use an attorney. What do I do now?
Answer: You have the right to ask for a "reconsideration" of your claim, but you must file a written request for reconsideration within 60 days of the denial letter with the RRB office that sent you the denial letter.
The RRB will review your claim using different personnel than did the initial decision on your case. They might request that you provide additional medical information or to see another doctor selected by the RRB (at no expense to you). You will receive a letter telling you the results of the review.
If the decision is still unfavorable, you then can appeal to the RRB Bureau of Hearings & Appeals (BHA). The bureau is completely independent of the RRB component that initially handled your claim.
BHA will do a complete review of the written record and might hold an oral hearing in or near your city. In some instances a telephone hearing can be held.
You can then appeal to the three-member RRB panel within 60 days, and finally can file an appeal with the U.S. Circuit Court Appeals within a year.
None of these actions requires the use of an attorney except for filing a court case.
Instead of using an attorney, you could have an official of your husband's Brotherhood be your representative during the reconsideration and appeals process.