For the millions of Americans living with a severe disability, finding ways to earn money despite their condition can prove extremely difficult. In these cases, Social Security disability benefits can help to provide monthly financial benefits as a supplement. Because the application process can be daunting, it is important to understand some key disability benefits terms before you begin.
What Is Res Judicata?
On average, around 60-65% of Americans have their initial disability applications turned down. If this occurs, it doesn’t mean that your case is permanently denied. Those with denied applications are allowed to appeal their claim by scheduling a court hearing in front of an administrative law judge (ALJ). Here, the judge will listen to your case, look over your paperwork and assorted evidence, and decide whether or not to overturn your ruling.
However, if a judge determines that your case is too similar to the application you initially filed, your case can potentially be denied a hearing in accordance with res judicata. This legal term refers to cases that have already by adjudicated and may not be tried again because nothing has changed — a decision has already been made.
To keep this from happening to you, be sure to prepare as much new evidence as possible when preparing for your ALJ hearing. New versions of old medical tests, entirely new tests, medication lists, and any new developments in general can (and should) be included here. The more new information you provide, the more likely you are to get a chance for a proper appeal.
How an Attorney Can Help
It is impossible to go into your disability process knowing the in’s and out’s of every legality. To ensure your application is the best it can be, consider a free consultation with a disability attorney in your area before you begin. From initial applications to ALJ hearings, disability attorneys can use their legal knowledge and connections to ensure you have the best shot at getting the benefits you deserve. And, even better, federal regulation prevents them from receiving payment unless they win your case, which greatly reduces the risk of hiring.