Disability benefits offer a source of consistent income for you and your family, ensuring you have the money necessary to meet your financial obligations and everyday costs of living.
Being approved isn’t guaranteed though, which means you may have filed once and been denied. If you were denied benefits due to medical ineligibility, you can still try for disability again in the future.
Knowing when to refile can be confusing however. The following hints can help you decide when, or if, you should restart your claim.
The Stage at Which You were Denied
Your disability may not have lasted or been expected to last the minimum of 12-months required for basic eligibility with the Social Security Administration (SSA).
If your prognosis has changed or you’ve been unable to return to work for a year or longer, then you can refile at any time and may get approved for benefits this time around.
The Type of Benefits and Reason for Denial
The SSA has two disability programs: Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). The program through which you applied and were denied determines whether now is the right time to restart your claim.
- If you were medically qualified for disability, but were denied SSI because you didn’t meet financial eligibility rules, then you may qualify now. Changes in your income, living arrangements, or overall financial resources may mean SSI would now be available to you.
- If you were medically qualified for benefits but were denied SSDI for non-medical reasons, your chances of approval with refiling are very slim.
- SSDI requires you have sufficient work history to get benefits. A denial based on a lack of “work credits’ can’t be changed unless you’ve accumulated more work credits since you first applied. Even then, it would depend on the length of time since your last application and how many credits you needed to qualify.
Whether You Proceeded through Appeals
A disability denial can be appealed and taken before an administrative law judge (ALJ) for a decision on eligibility. If you are still within the window to appeal, you should try to win your claim.
If you’ve already gone through an appeal hearing though and had an ALJ deny you benefits, then moving your appeal to the next level is possible but not necessarily worth it.
Once an ALJ denies a claim, further appeals rarely result in an approval, not to mention the fact that they take a lot of time and effort.
Your Recent Medical History and Records
If your application was denied early on because your medical condition didn’t meet or match the SSA’s eligibility criteria, then you may be able to refile and get approved now if your disability has worsened.
Changes in your medical condition may mean you now meet a disability listing or could potentially get approved through a "residual functional capacity"(RFC) analysis.
Always keep in mind that a denial for medical reasons means you could potentially qualify in the future if your limitations increase or your medical condition advances.
Even if you fought all the way through to an appeal hearing and were denied benefits due to medical ineligibility, you may still want to refile later, if your disability worsens.
Contacting an Attorney
An attorney can help you decide whether you should restart your claim and what your chances of winning disability are now. Attorneys who work within disability law understand the intricacies of the SSA’s system and processes.
They can advise you on requesting an appeal hearing, resubmitting a denied claim, or on restarting the entire application process based on new medical records or other evidence.