Social Security Disability: How to Apply (And Reapply)

Social Security Disability: How to Apply (And Reapply)

What happens if the application isn’t approved the first time?


Social Security offers such programs as Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income, for which potential beneficiaries must file applications.

What happens if the application isn’t approved the first time?


The AARP recently published some advice for what to do in that situation.

According to the organization’s website, which cited a staff attorney with the National Organization of Social Security Claimants’ Representatives, claimants have the choice of either appealing that ruling or starting over with a new application.

Unless you are applying on the basis of a different medical condition than before, disability lawyers generally favor appealing,” the AARP website said. However, each situation is different.

Whether its best to appeal or reapply will depend on the particulars of your case,” the AARP website says. “Why were you turned down? Has your condition changed since you applied? Can you provide new or better evidence that you meet Social Security's definition of disability — an illness or injury impairment that prevents you from doing most paying work for at least a year?”

Those types of determinations are best made by the filer’s attorney.

There is one good reason to keep with the original filing. That is that the day the filer files their initial claim is called their “protective filing date,” which allows them in some cases to claim back pay going back to that date.

The protective filing date remains in force throughout the appeals process. If you file a new claim, you get a new, more recent protective date, and thus less back pay if you win,” the AARP said.

The article also noted that the majority of such claims are not successful. However, more than half of cases that reached a hearing resulted in the appellant receiving some benefits.

Social Security turns down nearly two-thirds of disability claims on medical grounds at the application stage. Many experts say the chances of ultimately securing benefits are higher if you appeal than if you start over,” the AARP said. “SSA statistics bear this out. From 2010 through 2018, Social Security examiners approved around 36 percent of initial disability applications, according to the agencys most recent annual report on the SSDI program.”

The website advises potential beneficiaries, in most cases, to only reapply if they are suffering from a different condition than the one that formed the basis for their original claim.

If your medical condition is roughly the same as when you previously applied for benefits, a new application is likely to meet the same fate as the old one, unless you have gathered new medical evidence about its severity. Such evidence can also be presented in an appeal, preserving the advantages noted above,” the post said.

Stephen Silver, a technology writer for the National Interest, is a journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to The Philadelphia Inquirer, Philly Voice, Philadelphia Weekly, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Living Life Fearless, Backstage magazine, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.

Image: Reuters