Thomas, in El Centro, California, asks “I just received a denial letter regarding my Social Security Disability hearing. Should I request a review from the appeals council or file a new application?”
If your claim for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits has been denied at a hearing, then that means your claim has now been denied 3 times (initial application, reconsideration appeal and a hearing). There are many reasons why an administrative law judge might deny your claim. Every case is unique and any number of things could have factored into the judges decision. Most of the time the judge denies a claim simply because he/she is convinced, after reviewing the medical evidence, that your disability will either not last for a full year, or your disability will not prevent you from doing some type of work.
If you are denied at the hearing level of the appeals process, you have 2 options: request a review from the appeals council or file a new disability application. Every situation is unique; a qualified disability attorney can help you make the right decision that is best for your situation.
If you do decide to file a new disability application, keep in mind that it is very possible that you might not be insured for SSDI anymore. To be eligible for SSDI, you need to have worked enough years and recent enough to qualify. If your first attempt to obtain SSDI took many years, as it often does, then you may no longer have enough recent work credits to qualify for SSDI benefits. If this is the case, you might qualify for SSI. Also, when you apply for SSDI or SSI again, your official date of disability onset can not be any earlier than the day after your first claim was denied by the administrative law judge. (The date of disability onset is important for calculating back pay.)
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