Deciding Whether to Refile or Appeal a SSDI Claim
Suffering a disability (or long-term injury) can be debilitating, and not just physically. The mental strain of a disability can be just as painful as the physical strain, particularly an inability to work. In fact, it oftentimes increases the mental strain, as the disabled individual now has no means to earn income. Fortunately, a number of programs exist which can provide financial assistance to these individuals. One program is Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), a federal program administered by the Social Security Administration (SSA). The SSA reviews each SSDI application thoroughly. Accordingly, it is wise to engage the services of an experienced disability benefits attorney, who understands the ins and outs of the SSDI application process. Unfortunately, many SSDI applications are denied, and the disabled individual left to decide how to proceed.
Appealing a Denial
In the majority of cases, appealing a denial is the best option. One of the primary reasons for this choice is that allows the applicant to maintain the filing date of the SSDI application. This date, which the SSA establishes as the date on which it was first made aware that the applicant intended to file for SSDI benefits, is the date used to calculate the potential backpay due to a successful applicant. In other words, upon approval of an SSDI application, the applicant/beneficiary will receive any money that would have been paid to him/her as if his/her benefits had started on the date the application was filed.
It is an incorrect assumption that an applicant must file a new SSDI application to have the SSA Examiner consider new evidence. In reality, applicants are allowed to submit new evidence during the appeals process. Doing so can be advantageous to the applicant, as certain evidence may not be available until after a claim has been filed, and, in some cases, the new evidence can bolster an applicant’s claim for disability benefits, and possibly improve his/her chances of obtaining benefits.
Finally, the filing of a new SSDI application may result in a further denial, and, in some cases, based on the same rationale on which the originally-filed application was rejected. The applicant will be in the same position he/she was in before, but will have lost the filing date of the original application.
Refiling an Application
In some cases, however, filing a new SSDI claim may be an applicant’s best option. For example, if the applicant has taken the original application through the appeals process to the point of a hearing in front of an administrative law judge, the applicant cannot submit a new claim if he/she decides to appeal the decision. In this case, it may be in the applicant’s best interest to file a new claim rather than continue to appeal the original claim.
The appeals process can take a very long time, leaving the applicant without the benefits he/she needs. If there is evidence supporting his/her disability that was not part of the original application, the possibility of a new application getting approved may be greater than the appeal. Plus, while the appeals process can take a year or more, an initial decision on a new application often takes considerably less time.
Finally, it may be advantageous to file a new application if the applicant’s condition has significantly worsened since the original application. If so, the new application will most likely be reviewed differently, potentially leading to an approval.
If your SSDI claim was denied, and you are curious about the options you may have going forward, contact a disability benefits attorney as soon as possible. The legal team at Farrell Disability Law has years of experience in advising and educating their clients in every aspect of the SSDI benefits process, including what you can do in the unfortunate case of a denial. We will be able to help you understand the SSDI benefits process, as well as provide some strategies for overcoming a denial. Contact our Jacksonville office today.