Why reopen a prior application? The answer is that it can result in being awarded additional benefits. There is a full 5 month waiting period to receive Social Security Disability (“SSD”) benefits. Thus, if you became disabled on October 25, 2013, the alleged onset date (“AOD”), then you would first become eligible to receive SSD benefits in April 2014, the date of eligibility (“DOE”).
An application can provide retroactive SSD benefits up to 12 months before the month in which the application is filed. Therefore, a claimant will not lose any benefits as long as the application is filed within 17 months of the AOD, by combining the 12 month retroactive benefit and 5 month waiting periods.
Reopening a prior application is only automatic if it is done within 12 months after the initial determination on an SSD application. The regulations provide that an application can be reopened within 4 years for good cause, which includes new and material evidence.
I represent the widow of a claimant, whose SSD application was approved today. By providing new and material evidence, I persuaded the Administrative Law Judge to reopen a prior application. As a result, nearly 2 additional years of benefits will be awarded.