Is it better to appeal an SSDI rejection or to re-apply?

On Behalf of | Apr 1, 2024 | Social Security Disability Insurance |

People usually only apply for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits when they are unable to work. Adults typically understand that the disability standard for SSDI claims is quite high. The Social Security Administration (SSA) usually only approves applicants who are completely unable to work and who have medical conditions that may affect their lives for 12 months or longer.

Additionally, the applicant needs to have maintained gainful employment for long enough to accrue a sufficient number of credits to qualify for full SSDI benefits. The average person may feel as though their condition qualifies, but the workers at the SSA who review their application may not agree with their assessment.

Many people struggling with medical challenges apply for SSDI only to receive a rejection notice. They have three options at that point. They can give up, they can appeal or they can reapply. Appeals can take a year or longer to complete. Is reapplying the better option?

There are benefits to appealing a benefit denial

In theory, reapplying may seem like the more expedient solution. Someone currently unable to work and likely struggling with their financial obligations wants to connect with payments as soon as possible. Reapplying might mean that they get benefits much more quickly than they would if they must wait for a hearing in front of an administrative law judge.

Despite the additional wait time, appealing is often a good decision. When someone reapplies, they reset when they become eligible for benefits. However, those who appeal successfully can secure backdated benefits. The appeals process also gives someone an opportunity to present more details in front of a judge than they could likely include on the application paperwork for SSDI benefits when reapplying.

Particularly in scenarios in which someone has an unusually severe presentation of an often mild condition, the testimony of experts and other evidence they can submit during an appeals hearing could make a major difference in their likelihood of success.

Understanding what happens during the appeals process may help SSDI benefit applicants frustrated by a recent rejection. Those who understand the complexity of the rules for the SSDI program, and seek legal guidance accordingly, may find it easier to prevail in a claim even after an initial denial.

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