What Is the Difference Between Reapplying and Appealing a Social Security Disability Denial?

You don’t really understand why your application for Social Security disability was denied. The letter you got in the mail seemed to say that you weren’t “sufficiently disabled”—despite the fact that you haven’t been able to work for months due to your illness. You want to try again, but you’re not sure if you should appeal the denial or if you will have to start all over again with a new application.

Benefits of Appealing a Disability Denial

It is almost always better to appeal your disability decision rather than send in a new application. Appeals are easier for you and often result in a faster decision from the Social Security Administration than a brand new application will. Following are a few more benefits to appealing a denial:

  • Increased acceptance. Many disability applications are denied the first time around due to the sheer number of applications the Social Security Administration receives. If you appeal, you are more likely to be approved on the second try.
  • A second look. Part of the appeals process is having a new reviewer examine your application. The person who denied your application the first time cannot deny it again; it must go to a new reviewer. However, if you reapply, the same person who heard your case the first time could deliver the same answer.
  • Up the ladder. When you appeal, you may appear in front of an administrative law judge (ALJ) to argue your case. An ALJ can make an informed decision about your medical condition because you can demonstrate your limitations in court.

When Applicants Should Reapply After a Disability Claim Is Denied

In some cases, disabled workers will have no choice but to send in a new disability application. Since it is better to appeal, you should only consider sending in a new application if:

  • You did not appeal. If you did not appeal your denial within the 60-day deadline, you will have to complete a new application for benefits.
  • Your medical condition has changed. If you were denied because the Social Security Administration determined that your medical condition was not sufficiently disabling, but your medical condition has since gotten worse, you should reapply and include all additional information about the change in your health.
  • A judge has denied your claim. If you have completed your initial appeals process and an ALJ has denied your claim, you may start the process over by filing a new claim. However before you make that decision consult with an attorney, especially if your date last insured is before the date of the decision.

Many people are so discouraged after their disability benefits have been denied that they simply give up. However, getting approval may not be as difficult as you think. In fact, in some cases, sending additional medical information is enough to overturn the decision. To find out exactly what is standing between you and your benefits, read our free guide, 5 Deadly Mistakes That Can Destroy Your Social Security Disability Case.