If you applied for social security disability and the Social Security Administration (SSA) denied you, you may wonder if applying again is worthwhile. Or, maybe you applied in the past, went back to work, and now you want to apply again.
But, how many times can you apply for disability?
The short answer is — as many times as you want. Though, we venture to say that most people don’t want to keep applying for disability (only to get denied over and over).
The application process is long and complicated, but you don’t need to apply with a new application each time. In fact, you really shouldn’t.
Once you receive your first denial, you can start the appeal process. 50% of appeals go to a hearing where a judge will decide on your case. We know that this might sound intimidating and confusing.
That’s why we’re here to help.
At Atticus, we break down the legal process of applying for disability and help connect you with a vetted disability lawyer if you’re eligible for disability benefits.
While some people will receive disability benefits after their first application, these cases are rare.
Only 20.3% of people will receive disability benefits on their first application.
The SSA grants disability to people with some severe health conditions almost immediately. The remaining 80% must file an appeal within 60 days of the SSA denying their claim.
Applying for disability multiple times doesn’t hurt your chances of winning—but it doesn’t improve them either.
Continually applying for disability without changing anything on your application—or seeking the medical care you need to support your case—will not change the SSA’s decision.
You’re much better off appealing your case within the 60-day window after receiving the first rejection letter. If your case goes to a hearing and a judge decides to grant you benefits, you’ll receive back pay (payment for the time you were disabled, but not receiving benefits) beginning from the day you first submitted your application.
Let’s say you apply for disability but don’t appeal because you go back to work in some capacity. But, you start to experience pain or illness again and need to apply for benefits. In this case, you would reapply.
There’s no limit on how many times the SSA can deny you disability. You can continue submitting your application with the same or new information.
No clause says that after a certain number of denials, the SSA prohibits you from applying for disability in the future.
The problem is that without new or relevant information, they’ll just continue to deny you.
If the SSA denies your appeal, your case will go to a hearing in front of an administrative law judge. At this point, if you don’t already have a disability lawyer, you should get one to represent you at your hearing.
You can reapply for benefits if the judge denies your case at the hearing, but you will need compelling information to change the decision.
Perhaps you have debilitating back pain that has gotten worse, but a judge denies your claim. You can reapply and seek additional medical counsel to evaluate you and provide proof and documentation to support your claim, like additional imaging or testing.
If a judge denies your case and you feel that you’ve provided all of the evidence and documentation to support your disability claim, you can take it to a federal court to review.
Keep in mind that taking your case to a federal court can take years. After years of applying and appealing, you may be fighting for disability benefits for four to five years.
There are certain cases where you’d want to reapply for disability rather than appeal a rejected claim:
Yes, you can reapply if you miss the 60-day appeal window. However, this resets the clock on when you will receive back pay benefits. This is why acting quickly is so important.
A decision on your initial application can take three to six months. If you appeal and your case goes to a hearing, it might be one to two years before you actually see a judge.
The best thing you can do to get the money you need faster is to start the appeal process immediately when you receive your rejection letter.
For free advice with your appeal or re-application, reach out to Atticus. We can walk you through the disability application process and match you with a vetted legal professional (if you need one).
At the bottom of many websites, you'll find a small disclaimer: "We are not a law firm and are not qualified to give legal advice." If you see this, run the other way. These people can't help you: they're prohibited by law from giving meaningful advice, recommending specific lawyers, or even telling you whether you need a lawyer at all.
There’s no disclaimer here: Atticus is a law firm, and we are qualified to give legal advice. We can answer your most pressing questions, make clear recommendations, and search far and wide to find the right lawyer for you.
Two important things to note: If we give you legal advice, it will be through a lawyer on our staff communicating with you directly. (Don't make important decisions about your case based solely on this or any other website.) And if we take you on as a client, it will be through a document you sign. (No attorney-client relationship arises from using this site or calling us.)
Terms | Privacy | Disclaimer