You can reopen your prior Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) claim. The reasons and benefits to reopening your prior claim can include increased award benefits, and potentially a quicker approval in your claim.
Reopening a Social Security Disability Claim
- Within 12 months of the initial determination, a Social Security Disability claim may be reopened for any reason.
- Within four years of the initial determination, a Social Security Disability claim may be reopened for good cause.
- At any time, a Social Security Disability claim may be reopened for fraud or similar fault, a conviction affecting your entitlement to benefits being overturned or if death records are incorrect for a person whose earnings record is material.
Time limits for reopening a claim are determined from the notice date of the initial determination.
See 20 CFR § 404.988.
Is a Social Security Disability claim reopened automatically if you request it within 12 months?
Social Security doesn’t have to reopen your disability claim, even if you request it within 12 months of a determination. While it’s not automatic, they will consider it. If you request within 12 months of the initial determination, they can reopen the claim for any reason. After that, you must have good cause to have your disability claim reopened.
What Are the Requirements to Have a Social Security Disability Claim Reopened?
To have a Social Security Disability claim reopened, you must:
- Have a final decision, either as an initial determination or continuing disability review.
- Present a reason to consider reopening.
- Make a timely written statement stating disagreement with the decision. (Usually, this is done by filing a new claim and asking to have the old claim reopened).
Usually, reopening a Social Security Disability claim begins when the applicant requests to have the claim reopened. You typically need to initiate the process. Administrators can also decide to reopen a claim.
It’s possible to have a claim reopened in another way. For example:
- If administrators, on their initiative, question the previous determination, either based on new evidence or because of a quality control review or other review.
- By writing to a third party, like a congressman.
- Requesting to have the claim reopened without filing a new claim.
Our attorneys can help you determine how to pursue your case.
See DI 27501.005 Reopening and Revising a Determination or Decision.
SSDI request to reopen form
There’s no standard form to use to reopen a disability claim. Usually, the best practice is to file a new application along with a request to reopen the old case. You may also request a judge at a disability hearing.
What is a Good Cause to Reopen Disability?
Under 20 CFR § 404.989, good cause for reopening a Social Security disability claim includes:
- New material evidence
- A clerical error affecting the calculation of benefits
- Clear error, based on all evidence in the file and of record
The new material evidence must not have been part of the claims file at the time of the original decision.
It must be related, and it must show that there would have been a different determination in the case if the evidence had been presented. A change of legal interpretation or administrative ruling is not a good cause to reopen a case.
See DI 27505.010, Good Cause for Reopening
Is it better to appeal or reapply for disability?
Usually, it’s better to appeal a disability determination rather than reapplying, if you are still within time frames to appeal. You may receive more back benefits through an appeal than you could receive by reapplying. If your claim is denied, you may consider appealing, reapplying or filing a new claim with a request to reopen the previous claim.
Should I request to have my Social Security Disability claim reopened?
Whether it’s best to request to have your Social Security Disability claim reopened depends on the status of your case. You have 60 days after an initial denial to request reconsideration of your application. If the reconsideration is denied, you may appeal to a hearing before a judge and then pursue additional appeals.
A reopened claim may allow you to access backpay of benefits that may not be available if you simply start with a new claim. In addition, reopening a claim may lead to a faster decision, including shorter periods to access the appeals process.
Note: To have a claim reopened, the new evidence and issues must be related to the previous application. If you have a new, unrelated medical problem, administrators won’t reopen your old claim. However, if there’s a related medical issue, reopening may be possible. In addition, when seeking reopening, the onset date must be within the time frame of the original application. This means 12-17 months of the first application.
If an application is withdrawn, or if there was no determination on the initial claim, reopening rules are not applicable.
Legal Help for Reopening an SSDI Claim
You can get legal help for reopening an SSDI claim. At Pekas Smith Disability Attorneys, we help people get and maintain the benefits that they deserve. We explore all options for you to get the disability benefits that you qualify for under the law.
Our team can determine if you can have your case reopened and take the needed steps to request reopening. We can do everything needed for your case including creating a strategy, completing filing requirements and representing you at hearings.
Are you wondering if you can reopen a Social Security Disability claim? Do you need to know if seeking reopening is right in your case? You can have a free consultation with an attorney.