Social Security denial: should you appeal or reapply?

I often hear the following question:

I just got my Social Security denial letter. Should I appeal or reapply?

While every case is different, based on my experiences handling Social Security claims in Colorado, I often find the you stand a better chance by appealing rather than re-applying.

If you reapply, your case may be reviewed by the same person who denied you the first time. Chances are they will not change their mind.

By appealing, you take the case out of the hands of the person who denied you, and put it in front of a fresh pair of eyes. Sometimes you can present the same case on appeal, and the fact that the new person does not have any preconceived notions about it, will allow them to approve your case.

Why would you ever want to reapply then? There are cases where a clean break from the prior evidence is a good thing. Sometimes, when I see the following in a case, I may encourage the person to reapply:

  • Drug use or alcohol abuse.
  • Incorrect evidence. A mistaken “fact” that keeps getting repeated over and over but cannot be disproven.
  • Unhelpful doctor.
  • A period of no treatment.

Of course, this is not a complete list. There can be other reasons which can suggest a new claim may be better than an appeal.

However, whenever considering dropping the old case, keep in mind that there are issues such as the date last insured which can prevent you from being able to reapply!

Disclaimer: This is NOT legal advice. This site provides general information about Social Security disability cases in Colorado. To discuss your particular circumstances, please contact a lawyer in your area. Please review the full disclaimer .

About Tomasz Stasiuk

Tomasz Stasiuk is a Colorado Springs Social Security disability lawyer and the founding attorney of the Stasiuk Firm - a law firm specializing in Social Security disability cases in Colorado. Follow Tomasz Stasiuk on Google and Twitter

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  • N J

    Plus, doesn’t re-applying change your start date? Which:
    a) loses you all the back benefits from the original claim, and
    b) you might no longer be “insured” and therefore only eligible for SSI instead of SSDI!

    This happened to me: I missed the appeal date, sunk further into depression and didn’t re-file for a year. By that time I was very close to running out of “quarters” (turned out I had a few left, although I took so long to finish my new application I had to remind them that I was covered when I STARTED).

    Then, I argued that IF they granted my claim NOW, then they SHOULD have granted my first claim, since nothing had changed. By bringing that top the judges attention, I picked up an extra 24 MONTHS of back benefits I wouldn’t have gotten otherwise!

    And, yes, I won my own case–by a hair–despite my not getting all the “evidence” SSA forgot to order. $14K in my pocket…sweet!

    Terrific web site and info. I am recommending it to all my friends who are in the process.

  • TomaszStasiuk

    Yup. You know your stuff!

    By reapplying (vs appealing), an individual often loses their Protected Filing Date (PFD), which affects how far back they can be paid:

    And a new application may put a person beyond their Date Last Insured (DLI) which may make them completely ineligible for SSDI/DIB/Title II benefits:

    There are exceptions to both situations, however there is no guarantee of fitting into one of the exceptions (many people do not).

    Thanks for the kind words and thanks for reading! Congratulations on winning your case.

  • Curious

    What about if you have been denied at the hearing level? Is it better to appeal then, or reapply?

  • TomaszStasiuk

    The issues are similar at the hearing level. However, there is also whether an individual wants to have a hearing with the same ALJ if the case is remanded and whether there is even the option of starting a new claim, among other issues. 


  • dawnb

    I have been disabled since birth and have applied 2 times since I have been a adult and the 2nd time I had help from a state certified case worker.And she got me approved in about 12 months but the appointments I had to go to where so far apart that’s why it took so long.But other wise I would have gotten approved rite away.

    But my mother tried to get me approved for ssi at least 3 times before I was 18 and never appealed the decision.My mother was on ssi her self for being mentally handicapped.So she could not read the forms to appeal the decision.

    I would like to know if its possible for me to go back farther on my own if possible.For (SSI) or (Disabled Survivors Benefits)

  • TomaszStasiuk

    There are time limits on reopening prior claims (2 years for SSI, 4 years for DIB — with some exceptions). 

    Disabled Adult Child benefits pay benefits based on a parent’s contribution to Social Security. And some people have been successful proving those claims going back quite some time. However DAC requires proving disability back to age 22 or earlier: can’t possibly tell you what may or may not work based on your specific circumstances. I encourage you to discuss your case with a lawyer in your area.

    Good luck!