Disability Denial: When is it Better to Appeal a Decision vs. Starting a New Claim?

Submitted by Shane on Wed, 09/14/2011 - 17:12

Each year the Social Security Administration receives millions of claims for Social Security Disability benefits. Statistics show us that between 60 and 70 percent of the claims that are filed by disabled workers are denied by the SSA. This means that millions of disability applicants are faced with the overwhelming task of pursuing a Social Security Disability appeal in order to receive the benefits they need.

Is an appeal always the right step to take? Or is it sometimes better to start an entirely new Social Security Disability claim altogether?

In most cases, a Social Security Disability applicant will want to appeal the SSA's decision to deny a disability claim rather than re-applying for disability benefits. This is largely due to the fact that the Social Security Administration is likely to deny a second claim if the first was previously denied, and an applicant will therefore need to pursue the disability appeal process anyway if he or she hopes to receive the benefits to which they are rightfully entitled.

In spite of this risk, there are certain situations in which re-applying for benefits may better serve a Social Security Disability applicant.

Let's say, for example, that you applied for Social Security Disability benefits and you were turned down during the initial stage of the application process, but between the time that you applied for benefits and the time that you received your denial notice, your condition significantly worsened. In such a situation, a new disability claim may serve you better than appealing the SSA's decision to deny your Social Security Disability claim.

Why is it better to re-apply for benefits rather than pursuing the appeal process if you have substantial evidence indicating that your disability now meets the SSA's published medical guidelines? Because the disability appeal process takes many applicants at least a year or two to complete, whereas the initial claim period averages only three to six months. Rather than pursuing the lengthy appeal and waiting to have your case heard by an administrative law judge, it may be in the claimant’s best interest to re-apply submitting all of the new medical evidence of changes in the severity of the disabling condition.

If your condition has significantly worsened and you do feel that a new disability claim would be reviewed differently than your first claim, you should consult with a Social Security Disability attorney. These professionals can review the reasons given for your first disability denial, and will consult with you as to whether or not a new claim is likely to be approved by the Social Security Administration. They will also let you know if you are better off re-applying for your Social Security Disability benefits or pursuing the appeal process with the disability claim that you already have in progress.

Just remember, in most cases an appeal will be the best course of action. Unless you have had a significant change in your disabling condition with a significant amount of new medical evidence to submit, it is likely that an appeal is the only way to obtain the Social Security Disability benefits you need from the Social Security Administration.

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