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Can I Reopen My Old Social Security Disability Case?

Posted By Corey Luedeman - 09.09.19

If you applied for Social Security Disability benefits and your initial application was denied by the Social Security Administration (SSA), you may have decided not to appeal the decision.  If this happens, the SSA will close your case.

Later down the road, you may decide you want to try for disability benefits again.  So why would you decide to try to reopen your old claim?

Reopening Your Claim May Mean More Back Pay Benefits

One reason for reopening your claim is tied to your application date.  For Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits, you are entitled to benefits five months after you became disabled.  If you reopen your claim, the SSA can use the date of this application to calculate your back benefits.  This means you could get more in back pay benefits if your old claim is reopened.

It can be difficult to reopen your claim, so you may want to speak with an attorney to see if this is the right option for you.

When Social Security Disability (SSDI) Claims Can Be Reopened

Social Security may reopen your claim, but it depends on how old the claim is.

  • If your prior claim is less than a year old, the claim can be reopened for any reason. You need to request that the SSA reopen the claim when you file a new application.
  • If your claim is more than a year old, but less than four years old, the claim can only be reopened if Social Security finds there is good cause. “Good cause” would include new information about your claim or an obvious clerical error that meant your claim was denied.
  • If your claim is older than four years, it’s unlikely your claim can be reopened except in rare circumstances. If there was an error in calculating your disability benefits, or if someone left out information about your case on purpose, you may be able to reopen your claim.  You will likely need the help of an experienced Social Security Disability attorney to help you reopen a claim that is more than four years old.

How to Reopen Your Disability Claim

Reopening your disability claim is more complex than you may think.  You need to file a new application for benefits and specifically request that your old claim is reopened.  Depending on how your old claim is, the SSA will either reopen your claim or deny the reopening.

If the SSA denies your reopening, you are not necessarily out of options.  You can still try to pursue a new disability claim to the SSA.  If you are denied benefits after this initial application, an attorney can assist you with the appeals process.

As you can see, reopening your disability claim can get very complicated.  We recommend hiring a Social Security Disability attorney to help you with this process. An experienced attorney can help you decide whether reopening your Social Security Disability claim is the right thing to do for your case.

If you would like a free case evaluation with one of our experienced Iowa Social Security Disability lawyers, contact RSH Legal today at 1-800-433-0283.

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