If you are Denied for Disability, Should you File a new Application or File an Appeal of the Denial?

When it comes to Social Security Disability and SSI claims (which are processed in exactly the same manner as each other, both programs using the same standard SSA definition of disability), there is usually very little point to filing a new disability application after a disability application has been denied.

Filing a new disability application will mean that the claimant will need to go back to the social security office where they filed their first claim and repeat all the same previous steps, including going through another disability application inteview, filling out the same application paperwork, furnishing the same information regarding the medical treatment history and work history, and having the claim sent off to determination determination services (DDS) where it will be decided by a disability examiner yet again.

Predictably, when this happens the claimant can usually expect to receive the same answer on their application (which means being denied).

There is typically only one circumstance in which it makes sense for the claimant to file a new claim after being denied on a disability application. And that is a situation in which a claimant has filed a disability claim and it has then been discovered that the individual is working and earning too much income...to even be eligible to file a claim.

When this happens, the social security administration will issue something known as a technical denial. The denial will have nothing to do with the claimant's medical condition because no medical determination will have been performed on the case. The case will have been stopped "dead in its tracks" by the mere fact that the claimant was working and earning too much to even be considered.

If a claimant receives a technical denial based on the fact that they were working and earning too much income, it would be pointless to file an appeal. The correct response in that situation would be to file a brand new disability application--assuming, of course, that the claimant was no longer working, or had at least decreased their work hours and brought their income level down.

However, in all other cases, the correct response after receiving a notice of denial (formally known as a notice of disapproved claim) would be to file an appeal.

The first appeal is something is something known as a request for reconsideration; and while the chances of being approved for disability benefits on a reconsideration are very low (reconsiderations generally have about 13-15 percent rate of approval), getting a denial on a reconsideration will allow a claimant to file a request for a disability hearing.

At Social security hearings conducted by an ALJ (administrative law judge), a claimant will usually have better than a 60 percent chance of winning benefits, even more so if their case is properly prepared and presented by a disability attorney or a qualified non-attorney claimant's representative.

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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