What to Do If an Administrative Law Judge Denies Your Social Security Disability Claim

Social Security Disability Appeal Touch ScreenIn 2011, the rules changed. Since then, Social Security disability applicants who have their claims denied at a Social Security disability hearing must make a critical decision. They must decide whether they want to appeal the Social Security disability hearing decision or file a new Social Security disability application. They can’t do both simultaneously unless they have new disabilities, and the Appeals Council allows them to file new applications for benefits.

Should You Appeal or File a New Social Security Disability Claim?

By the time your case is denied by an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ), you may be extremely frustrated. You want to get Social Security disability benefits as quickly as possible, but you may be unsure whether you should pursue an appeal to the Appeals Council or file a new application.

A Social Security disability lawyer who is experienced both with filing initial applications and pursuing appeals can help you make this essential decision.

Some of the things we will consider with you include:

  • New evidence. Whether you pursue an appeal or file a new claim, you can present new and material evidence. If you didn’t have new evidence to include, then there would be little reason to file an appeal, since it is likely that the Appeals Council would reach the same decision as the ALJ. Therefore, new evidence does not mean that you need to begin the Social Security disability eligibility process over. However, any new evidence must k,m [‘[have a reasonable probability of changing the outcome of your claim.
  • Retroactive benefits. If your appeal is successful, then you may recover retroactive benefits. Retroactive benefits may be significant, and you could lose this potential money if you start a new Social Security disability claim because retroactive benefits go back to your filing date. If you start a new claim, then you will have a new filing date and could potentially lose all of the benefits you should have received from your original filing date until your eligibility date.
  • Whether a new claim is possible. For the reasons described above, continuing the appeals process is often the right choice for many Social Security disability applicants. However, if you have a new disability or if you decide not to pursue an appeal, then you may file a new Social Security disability application.

You deserve personalized attention and advice so that you can make the best possible decision for yourself.

It’s Not Too Late to Contact a Social Security Disability Lawyer

If you have had a prior Social Security hearing and were denied benefits and you are now trying to decide whether to file a new claim or appeal the previous decision, it may be helpful to consult an attorney.  We know that it can hard to trust the possible outcome of an appeal after your claim has been denied, but we can help you through the entire process.

In most cases, you must file your appeal with the Appeals Council within 60 days of the ALJ’s decision.  The Appeals Council will review the ALJ decision and decide whether to:

  • Deny your request for review. If the Appeals Council denies your claim, then your next appeal is to the Federal Court. Our experienced lawyers will advise you about the likelihood of success, and, if appropriate, represent you in court.
  • Send your case back to the ALJ for further consideration. If your claim is sent back to the administrative law judge, then we will represent you at the next administrative law judge hearing and make sure that a strong, accurate, and easy to follow case is presented.
  • Overturn the ALJ’s decision and grant your Social Security disability benefits. If this happens, then you should receive Social Security disability benefits, including retroactive benefits. We will make sure that you get the money you deserve.

At Keefe Disability Law, we regularly provide our clients with advice regarding the impact and consequences of appealing a Social Security disability decision or starting a new Social Security disability application. If your Social Security disability application has been denied in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, or Rhode Island, then we encourage you to contact us for a free, no-obligation consultation as soon as possible.

 

John L. Keefe
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Founding Attorney, Massachusetts Social Security Disability Lawyer