Reapplying for SSDI Benefits if Your Condition Worsens
Disabling conditions are rarely static in nature — if you are suffering from a disability, whether due to an injury, illness, or other condition, then chances are that your status will change over time.
In some cases, you may find that the severity of your disability has worsened after you have already applied for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits. Thus, if the Social Security Administration (SSA) chooses to deny your application for benefits — which it is likely to do, given that only 28 percent of initial applications are approved by the SSA — you’ll want to consider whether to appeal the decision, or to re-submit the application altogether. By resubmitting your application, you will be able to include all new and relevant medical documentation (pertaining to the disabling condition), as well as any other supplemental evidence that could illuminate how it prevents you from performing meaningful work.
Let’s take a closer look.
Material Change in Circumstances
It’s important to understand that there is no limit to how many times you can apply for SSDI benefits, though doing so is not always a sensible use of time and energy. Reapplying (without the factual circumstances to justify the time-effort investment) could put an unnecessary burden on you without a concomitant payoff — if your claim is substantially the same as your previous one, then the SSA will almost certainly deny it.
So, what justifies the submission of a new application? Generally speaking, if your disabling condition has worsened to a degree that it has caused further impairment (with respect to your ability to perform meaningful work), then you will want to re-apply and submit all necessary medical records. Put another way: there must be a change in your physical and mental circumstances, and that change must demonstrably impact your ability to work.
Your focus should be on including documentation and other evidence that clearly identifies and delineates your physical and mental limitations.
Suppose that you are suffering from a repetitive stress injury that is preventing you from using your arms to do work (even basic tasks, like typing) for more than two hours at a time. The SSA denies benefits due to the fact that you could be easily accommodated — every two hours, you could be given a fifteen minute break, after which time you could work for another two hours without further interruption. Some time passes and the injury worsens. You are now incapable of working more than an hour without fifteen minute rest periods in-between. Reapplying for benefits could net you a favorable result, as the SSA may find that the severity of the impairment is enough to qualify for benefits.
If you believe that there has been a change in your physical and mental impairments since your original application for benefits, it’s worth evaluating the possibility of submitting a new application.
If you have had your Social Security disability benefits denied, or if you have otherwise been subjected to an adverse decision by the SSA, then you need not accept the SSA’s decision as final. Depending on the circumstances, you may be entitled to appeal or even reapply for SSDI benefits.
Ready to move forward? It’s important that you get in touch with a qualified Social Security attorney who understands how to navigate the process in a way that maximizes the likelihood of recovery.