What is the Difference Between Filing A New Disability Claim And Filing A Disability Appeal?

filing an appeal of a Social Security Disability or SSI denial. In order to file a new disability claim, an individual must do what they did on their original disability application, which is to complete a disability application either by phone, in person, or online.

If the disability applicant chooses to file their new disability claim online, a Social Security claims representative (at a local social security office) may still have to recontact them if they have opted to file an application for SSI (Supplemental Security Income) disability because there is no online application at present.

If an individual files their new disability application online, they must also complete the disability report (form SSA-3368) so that Social Security has their medical information as well as their work information. Once everything is completed online, Social Security still needs a printed medical release form (form SSA-827) signed and returned to the local office before the disability claim can be sent to the state disability agency (DDS, or disability determination services, where cases are evaluated by disability examiners) for a decision.

If the disability applicant chooses to file their new disability application by phone or in person, a Social Security claims representative (a CR) will complete the application and disability report, the only difference being that the representative will also get their medical release form from them if they do an in-person interview. Of course, if you prefer filing by phone, you will still have to sign a medical release form and return it.

Once the new disability application and forms are complete, the disability claim is sent to the state disability agency for a decision. This process requires the disability examiner to send out requests for the disability claimant's medical information and, based on what information is obtained from the claimant's treatment sources, make a determination as to whether or not a consultative examination is needed in order to make a decision.

A consultative exam, or CE, is performed by a doctor who is under contract to either test or examine applicants for disability benefits. Consultative exams may be short physical examinations, but they may also entail pyschiatric testing, intelligence testing, and even being sent to have xrays done. If a consultative examination is needed, the disability claimant will have to attend the examination prior to a decision being made.

All of this must be done on a brand new disability claim. And claimants should consider the time factor when considering whether to file an appeal of a denied claim, or deciding to start over with a brand new claim. It takes far more time on the disability applicant's part to file a new disability claim than it takes to file an appeal of a disability denial. Filing an appeal is also somewhat easier as a disability claimant can file their appeal online or complete and return the appeal paperwork to their local Social Security office.

Disability appeals have the advantage of not involving an interview with a claims representative as would be the case with filing a new disability application. On an appeal, the disability claimant only has to provide updated medical and work information to Social Security. Additionally, a disability applicant's disability appeal can be handled by an attorney or non-attorney representative with little or no direct contact between Social Security and the disability applicant.

However, the most important reason to file an appeal versus filing a new disability claim is that an individual's chances of being approved for disability benefits are much better if they use the disability appeal process. Individuals who are initially denied can file a request for a reconsideration and if this appeal is also denied, the claimant can request a hearing before an administrative law judge. At such a hearing, a represented claimant may have their best chance of being approved for Social Security Disability or SSI benefits.

About the Author: Tim Moore is a former Social Security Disability Examiner in North Carolina, has been interviewed by the NY Times and the LA Times on the disability system, and is an Accredited Disability Representative (ADR) in North Carolina. For assistance on a disability application or Appeal in NC, click here.

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