Reopening a Social Security Disability Application

Did you give up on an earlier application for Social Security disability benefits after it was first denied? If the answer is yes, it may be possible for your attorney to reopen the earlier application, which could provide you with significant additional past-due benefits.

Time Limits for Reopening

Your attorney may request that your prior Social Security disability or SSI case be reopened for any reason within 12 months of the initial denial. For good cause your attorney may request reopening within four years of an initial denial in a Social Security disability case, and within two years in an SSI case. The standards for good cause are the same for both programs. The discovery of new and material evidence is good cause, as is a clerical mistake in the computation of your benefits, or a clear mistake in the way your case was decided.

If your current application alleges the same onset date for your disability as an earlier application, it can be considered as a timely request to reopen the earlier application.

When No Time Limit Applies

There are also situations where no time limit applies. For example, an application may be reopened at any time if the decision was based on fraud. There is no time limit for reopening cases involving claimants who don’t have the mental capacity to understand the procedures for appealing. This rule applies when there was no one legally responsible for pursuing the claim such as a parent, legal guardian, attorney or other representative. Regardless of how much time has passed from the time of the initial denial, the case can be reopened.