No one wants to receive an unfavorable decision from an administrative law judge.
And just because Social Security says you’re not disabled that doesn’t mean your health problems just go away.
Thankfully, you have a couple of options to pursue your case when Social Security gets it wrong, but whether to appeal or file again is often a difficult decision that you’ll likely want to discuss with a disability attorney.
While most clients who are denied benefits immediately want to appeal, there are several things to take into account before filing one. First, the Appeals Council denies the vast majority of cases it sees- more than 80 percent. Second, it’s not a quick process. Just getting a decision that they won’t take up the appeal can take a year. If your case is remanded for a new hearing, it can take even longer. And you can’t file a new application while your case is on appeal.
The upside though is that with an appeal, you can still get benefits going back to your original onset date, whereas if you re-file, the furthest back you can receive benefits is the day after the judge’s decision.
Re-filing has other benefits too. If you reach a higher age classification, an attorney may be able to argue that the prior decision should now be used as evidence of disability. If your condition gets worse after the previous hearing, re-filing is going get this evidence in front of Social Security more quickly. You are also likely to have your case heard by a different judge, which can often be helpful.
Make sure to weigh the pros and cons of appealing or re-filing with a disability attorney if you have received an unfavorable decision from Social Security.