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SSDI- How does my previous claim affect my current claim?

Recently on our disability forum we had a disability applicant ask, “If I had an attorney represent me before with my SSDI claim and I was working at the time and was denied, will this affect my new Social Security Disability (SSDI) claim

There are several issues that need to be discussed to answer this claimant’s question. First, one of the most frustrating issues for a disability lawyer is to have a claimant who does not understand the most basic qualifications for winning SSDI disability. First, if you are able to work than you are by definition not disabled. Let’s hope that the disability applicant didn’t wait to spring the fact he was working on his SSDI attorney 10 minutes before the trial started. I have seen it happen and it’s devastating for the SSDI case.



Next, a disability lawyer should also never take a case from a claimant who is currently working or who admits to having the capability to work. SSDI and SSI are only for the most seriously disabled applicants who are not able to work. If you are able to work and you try to get SSDI benefits this is tantamount to committing fraud, and worse, you could be delaying SSDI benefits from claimants who really need them to survive.

With that said, let’s assume that this SSDI disability applicant was disabled but at the time of their last case they were making one last ditch effort to work, finding out later that they were unable to work full-time. How does the previous SSDI case affect the current SSDI case? It will depend on why they were denied SSDI or SSI benefits.

Why was the claimant denied SSDI or SSI benefits?


If the claimant was denied SSDI or SSI benefits solely because they were working and performing what the SSA calls substantial gainful activity at the time they applied for benefits, then assuming they have stopped working, then they should have a good chance of winning SSDI or SSI the second time they apply.

What if they were denied SSDI because they lacked sufficient work credits or their condition was not expected to last for at least 12 continuous months? In this case the fact they were working was really an ancillary issue and they are likely to be denied a second time.

The first step for this applicant is to find out why they were really denied and decide once and for all if they are able to work or perform substantial gainful activity. If they can work, they should work. If they cannot, then they will have to determine why they were denied and fix the problem. This might require getting more medical evidence or talking to a disability lawyer for information about what the Social Security Administration (SSA) needs to make a disability determination.

But the most important thing to do is research BEFORE you apply and know what requirements you must meet to be considered disabled by the SSA.
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