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SSDI denial: why can't I just file another SSDI claim?

Recently on our disability forum a user asked, “I filed for disability about two months ago. I just found out I was denied benefits. I have heard that it’s better to file an appeal than to file another application. I don’t know if I want the hassle of appealing my SSDI claim. Why can’t I just file my SSDI claim a second time?”


Millions of disability applications are filed each year and hundreds of thousands of applications are denied. Denials occur for a variety of reasons- the claimant did not have enough work credits to be insured for SSDI benefits, their condition was not expected to last at least 12 continuous months, or their condition was not considered severe.

Should I file another SSDI claim?

SSDI benefits you can be denied for medical and non-medical reasons. Assuming you meet the nonmedical requirements for SSDI benefits, legal experts generally suggest it is better to appeal the denial and move your claim through the appeals process rather than filing a new claim.

There are several reasons for this. The most important reason, however, is that getting your claim to the administrative law judge may improve your chances for approval. The administrative law judge is the first decision maker that you will get to talk to face-to-face and convince that you are disabled.

Another reason to move forward instead of refilling your claim is that you will maintain your back pay. Re-filing your claim will “reset” your back pay. This may not be important if you were just denied benefits a few months ago, but if you re-file after waiting months or years for benefits this can cost you a considerable amount in back pay and is an important consideration.

Another consideration: res judicata

In some cases, there may also be another legal barrier to filing a second initial claim. The Disability Determination Services or DDS can use res judicata – Latin for “the thing has been adjudicated”- to avoid evaluating your claim a second time. This legal determination can only be used, however, if the claim has already been reviewed and the issues, evidence, facts, and conditions have not changed.

This process is only allowed in very specific circumstances and excluded in others, but it is worth noting and should be reviewed to determine if it can be applied in your SSDI claim.

Submitting new medical evidence  for your SSDI claim

Regardless of what you decide to do after a denial, it’s important to provide additional medical information to strengthen your case. For example, if the SSA claims that your condition is not severe or you could retrain for new work despite your health condition, it is critical that you submit additional medical evidence to counter their claims. This can be done by requesting a residual functional report from your doctor which clearly states your limitations to work or getting more medical information about your health condition.

Bottom Line:

If your SSDI claim has been denied it is generally better to appeal the claim and move forward through the appeals process. Whatever your choice, however, you need to submit more medical information to strengthen your SSDI claim.

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