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Reopen Your Prior Application & Get All Of Your Disability Benefits

If you let an old application lapse and did not appeal it, you may be able to reopen your old application. Especially, because reopening an old application would get more past disability benefits. Many people file an application for Social Security Disability benefits more than once. Sometimes, people file an application and don’t appeal a denial because they think they are going to return to work.  Sometimes, people miss the 60-day deadline to file an appeal. For whatever reason, the SSA tells them they need to file a new application.


If you have filed more than one application, especially if you have filed two or three times within a two year period, you need to know you have the right to ask for a “reopening” of your prior application.  The law states that a prior application can be reopened for any reason within a 12 month period.

“An administrative law judge (ALJ) has the authority to reopen an initial, revised or reconsidered determination, or a hearing decision or revised hearing decision under title II or title XVI of the Social Security Act for any reason within 12 months from the date of the notice of the initial determination (see 20 CFR 404.988(a) and 416.1488(a)).”

In order to get a prior application reopened, so you can obtain all of you back benefits, you need to ask the ALJ to reopen it at your hearing.  Additionally, you typically need a reason to request reopening.  It could be a simple reason, such as you missed the deadline to appeal because you were in the hospital. Or, perhaps you did not receive your mail because you moved.  You may have a mental illness that prevented you from understanding your rights or you may have been trying to gather all of your medical records before submitting your appeal.


As long as you have a reason, the ALJ must consider a reopening request that is within 12 months initial determination date.  The rules do not require an ALJ to automatically reopen a previous determination, even if it is within 12 months. But, the ALJ cannot automatically deny a request to reopen a prior application.  If the ALJ reopens a prior application, it should result in you receiving a larger back benefit amount. In other words, you will receive all of the past due benefits to since your first application.

If you have questions about reopening an old application, you should contact our office. The attorneys at Cannon Disability Law can explain how to reopen your previous application. For instance, we can determine if your claims are eligible for reopening, even if you have more than one past application. We consider it our job to win benefits on your current application. At the same time, we will attempt to reopen any past applications for  you. We have considerable experience winning disability cases. Our SSI Law firm has won over 18,000 disability claims for our clients. Contact Cannon Disability Law today for your free consultation.

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