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Old Disability Claims: Can You Re-Open Them?

By Kenton Koszdin Law Office on May 27, 2014 | In Social Security Claims Process

You may have been denied Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits in the past and find that you need to file a new SSDI claim because you believe that you are entitled to benefits. Would it be to your benefit to try to reopen that old case, too? Is it even possible?

The answer to both those questions is yes — with some provisos.

It is to your benefit to try to link the new claim and the old because Social Security pays benefits back to the date of the original application or beyond. Simply put, if you can prove that your prior disability claim is related to your current disability claim you could be eligible for back benefits from the Social Security Administration (SSA).

Reopening a prior SSDI claim is not easy, however. There are very specific guidelines that are outlined for those who wish to reopen an old claim.

First, you must file a new application for disability and ask Social Security to reopen your old claim. Do not assume that SSA will automatically do this for you. They will not. Second, you must tell SSA in your newer application for disability that the onset date of your disability fell within the time frame of your first application. For SSDI this is within 17 months of your initial application.

When can you reopen a disability claim?

Previous claims can be reopened for any reason within 12 months after Disability Determination Services (DDS) or an administrative judge made an initial determination concerning your case. After 12 months the process becomes increasingly more difficult.

If your prior claim is up to four years old it can be reopened if SSA determines there is good cause to reopen it. Social Security defines “good cause” as finding an error either in the way benefits were calculated or in the decision made by DDS. The claim can also be reopened if you can show that you have new evidence or material concerning the claim.

If your previous SSDI claim is more than four years old, reopening the case becomes increasingly more difficult, but it can be done under very narrow parameters.

If you are trying to reopen a prior disability claim, the attorneys at the Kenton Koszdin Law Office in Los Angeles strongly advise that you not attempt to do so without the aid of solid and knowledgeable counsel. If you have questions about your SSDI claim, call us toll-free at (800) 438-7734 or contact us online today. We will even come to you to discuss your case.

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