Can you re-open an old claim?

If you are filing a new disability claim, and you have been denied past SSI or Social Security applications, there are several important legal issues.  It is easy to forget appeal deadlines, or possibly you think you have recovered enough to work, only to be sidelined later by the same medical problems.

It is sometimes possible to re-open prior disability claims as part of a new claim filing, if your medical condition has been ongoing.

You cannot count on Social Security to do this automatically.  Technical legal help is often necessary  accomplish this, and gain many months or even years of past due benefits.  The evidence must support the earlier period, but unrepresented claimants may have earlier claims that were denied simply because they were missing significant medical records.

Sometimes 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.  These include submitting new medical evidence from the past time frame, or finding that the notice of denial was unclear or misleading.

This past-due benefits question is the issue most often missed by claimants or inexperienced advocates.   If a case is granted quickly, a claimant may be misled into thinking all possible benefits are being paid.   Actually there may be years of past due benefits that are being left unexplored.