Sunday, November 8, 2009

Reopening Past SSD Denial

It is common for people to apply for Social Security Disability (“SSD”) benefits more than once. Each new application starts a new date when benefits potentially become payable. What many people don’t realize is that it may be possible to “reopen” a prior application, which can result in the payment of additional benefits.

I represented a 44 year old carpenter who had applied three times, and was proceeding with his third application when he retained me. The oldest application was filed in February 2004, and the latest was filed in July 2007. I requested copies of the prior application files.

After reviewing all of the records, I obtained a report from the claimant’s treating physician that showed the claimant had lacked the ability to work since November 2003. I made a motion to reopen the prior application on the grounds that the report constituted new and material evidence. ALJ Brian Crawley agreed, and issued a fully favorable decision that approved SSD benefits based upon the prior application’s filing date.

The result of the reopening was that the claimant received well over three years of additional SSD benefits. When filing a new application always investigate whether there are grounds for reopening the prior one

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