Can You Re-Open Old Disability Claims?

It is sometimes possible to re-open prior disability claims as part of a new claim, if a medical condition has been ongoing. Social Security may not do this automatically. Doing this for a client may gain many months or even years of past-due benefits. The medical evidence MUST clearly support the earlier disability period. Unrepresented claimants may have earlier claims that were denied simply because they were missing significant medical records.

Claimants can easily forget appeal deadlines. Sometimes people think they have recovered enough to work, only to be sidelined later by the same medical problems. In many scenarios, they let their claims lapse by failing to appeal on time. The ongoing delays at Social Security contribute to this. People give up.

Often Social Security will say that it is too late to reinstate old claims. But there are technical legal grounds for re-opening claims even when the time limit has passed. You must submit new medical evidence from the past time frame, and it must support your claim. Some older cases have notices of denial that were unclear or misleading, and that is another basis for reopening. Examining ld claims is part of our representation. It can make a huge difference in the amount of money we help a client win.