Earlier in the year, the Social Security Administration (“SSA”) changed its interpretation of a certain policy; the change could have a big impact on disability benefits applicants.
The interpretation involves applicants who submit multiple claims. In the past, applicants could file a new claim for the same disability after their first claim was denied by an Administrative Law Judge. This would allow the applicant to pursue his or her appeal of the first application to the Appeals Council while at the same time pursuing a new application that might receive a decision quicker than the appeals process, which can take months or years.
The SSA no longer allows disability benefits applicants to do this. If an Administrative Law Judge denies a person’s application, he or she can appeal that denial to the Appeals Council or drop any appeal and file an entirely new claim. This policy change on the part of the SSA can hurt applicants regardless of the route they take. If they decide to appeal the denial, they have no choice but to wait until the appeal ends or reaches a favorable decision. This often takes a year, which is a long time for families already struggling financially.
Alternatively, if applicants decide to forgo an appeal and begin a new claim, they lose out on retroactive benefits. If the SSA decides to grant disability benefits for the new claim, applicants receive benefits dating to that new claim. If applicants had appealed and then received a favorable ruling, they would receive benefits dating back to their initial application, typically adding thousands of dollars to their benefits.
Before the SSA changed its policy, did you have multiple claims outstanding while you waited for a decision? How did the SSA ultimately decide your case?
Troutman & Troutman, P.C. – Tulsa Social Security disability lawyers