Yes. The Social Security Administration (SSA) -- the government agency that administers the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program – doesn’t limit how many times you can apply for benefits. If the SSA denied your initial claim, there’s nothing stopping you from applying again. However, don’t start filling out a new application just yet. In most cases, it makes more sense to take advantage of the SSA’s four-level appeals process than to start over with a whole new claim. Here’s what you should know about your options after an SSDI denial, including the benefits of an appeal, when to consider submitting another application, and how Keefe Disability Law’s knowledgeable and experienced Boston disability attorneys can guide you through the appropriate process and increase your chances for success.
Understanding the Social Security Disability Appeals Process
If you waited months to find out whether you were approved for SSDI, only to receive a disappointing denial letter, you’re not alone. The SSA denies up to 70 percent of initial claims. Fortunately, you have the right to appeal and have 60 days (from the date you received the denial letter) to inform the SSA of your decision. The Social Security disability appeals process has four levels:
- Reconsideration, a new evaluation of your claim by disability determination examiners not involved in the previous decision
- Hearing by an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ), if Disability Determination Services (DDS) denies your request for reconsideration or you disagree with their decision, you can request a hearing with an ALJ
- Appeals Council Review, if the ALJ doesn’t rule in your favor, you can ask the Appeals Council to review your claim
- Federal Court Review, if the Appeals Council denies or dismisses your SSDI claim, you can file a lawsuit in U.S. District Court
Appealing a Denied SSDI Claim Can Have Numerous Benefits
The appeals process can be lengthy and grueling, but there are good reasons for slogging through it. Failing to provide sufficient medical evidence is one of the most common reasons SSDI claims are denied. Thankfully, you can submit additional evidence or documentation to support and strengthen your claim at every level of appeal, save the federal court review.
You’re also statistically more likely to succeed with an appeal than a new application, which puts you back at square one, where you face the same nearly 70-percent denial rate. On the other hand, if you can make it to the second level of a Social Security disability appeal, or an Administrative Law Judge hearing, you have an almost 50 percent chance of being granted benefits. Your chances of winning your SSDI appeal are even better if you have skilled legal counsel.
However, the main advantage of an appeal is that you can preserve your original protective filing date, which is the date you let the SSA know you were planning to apply for SSDI. If your claim is ultimately approved, you could be eligible for back pay (or past-due benefits) going all the way back to your protective filing date (and, in some cases, an additional 12 months). Reapplying resets your protective filing date, meaning you’d be eligible for less back pay if granted benefits.
When to Reapply Rather Than Appeal
Though appealing a denied SSDI claim is usually the most advantageous option, there are times when starting over with a new application makes sense. Here are some examples:
- You missed the 60-day deadline to file for an appeal
- Your condition has worsened in severity (or expected duration)
- You’re applying for SSDI for a different medical condition
Denied SSDI Benefits? Let Our Adept Disability Attorneys Handle Your Appeal
Appealing a denied SSDI claim can be difficult and time-consuming. Skilled representation can improve your chances of being granted benefits. Let Keefe Disability Law handle your SSDI appeal so that you can focus your time and energy elsewhere.
Ready to talk to us about your claim? Complete the contact form or call 508-283-5500 to schedule a free initial consultation.