The entire Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) process can be very confusing for many claimants. If you have filed a SSDI application and were denied or if you appealed the denial decision and were denied you might be wondering what your options are now.
If you were denied SSDI and have waited several years to think about your options again you may have even more issues that will need to be addressed. Recently on our forum we had an SSDI applicant ask, “If my SSDI application was denied several years ago, what are my options now?”
Denied SSDI but I have not been working
First let’s talk about what happened if you were denied SSDI benefits several years ago but you stopped working. The SSDI applicant who has not worked in several years has several issues. First, they need to find out immediately what their date last insured or DLI is and whether or not this date has passed. If it has passed the SSA is likely to say that you no longer qualify for SSDI benefits.
Your only options if this is the case is to either prove to the SSA that your date of disability was before your date last insured and you have not worked at a substantial level since your date of disability or to return to work and accumulate more work credits.
Consider, SSDI is not an “entitlement” program and you are not guaranteed benefits. It is more like an insurance program, and if you are not “insured,” which means you have not worked and earned enough work credits, you will not qualify for SSDI benefits.
So, if you cannot work, the best thing to do is apply for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits as soon as possible and not wait several years. Waiting can make the process much more difficult than it needs to be.
Denied SSDI but I have been working
If you applied for SSDI but were denied and then you decided to attempt to work again than before you apply a second time you will have to stop working and performing what the SSA terms “substantial gainful activity.”
If you are working too much when you apply for SSDI benefits you will automatically be denied. You may be able to work VERY part-time, but it is likely that part-time work could be detrimental to your SSDI application too because the SSA may believe if you can work 20 or 30 hours, with a little more effort, you could work full-time.
Can I appeal the denial decision after two years?
If you have been denied SSDI you can also appeal the denial decision. Unfortunately, this must be done within 60 days from the date of your denial letter, and if it has been two years this will not be an option. Your only option will be to reapply.
Other Considerations after a SSDI denial
Before you consider whether or not to reapply or appeal it is very important to understand why you were denied. Many applicants will NEVER get SSDI benefits, and it won’t matter how many times you apply. Review your denial letter, make sure you have great medical evidence, and make sure your condition will last at least 12 continuous months BEFORE you reapply or appeal the denial.