Many people do not realize that you can re-apply for Social Security Disability benefits with the same condition if it gets worse. Regardless of where you are in the claims or appeals process, you should always make the SSA aware of any changes in your medical or mental conditions, especially if these changes make the conditions worse.
If you are still within the time period for moving forward with the disability appeals process (filing for reconsideration, having a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge, etc), your best bet is to file all available appeals, making sure to note all changes in your condition. This is generally much quicker than starting a claim again from scratch. However, if you are past the time frame for an appeal, you can still open a new claim with the same condition if there have been notable changes.
A common misconception regarding Social Security Disability benefits is that it’s a disabled person’s condition which causes them to be approved or denied Social Security Disability benefits. In reality, there are relatively few medical or mental conditions which automatically qualify for Social Security Disability benefits.
What matters in most disability claims is not so much what condition you have, but how the sum total of all medically verifiable conditions which you suffer from affects your ability to perform meaningful work. The exact formula used in determining whether you are sufficiently disabled to qualify for Social Security Disability benefits can be confusing, even to the people who are charged with making the decisions, but in the end the main question they are trying to answer is this: Can you reasonably be expected to perform any kind of available work for which you are qualified or could be trained?
If you plan on re-applying based on a worsening condition, you should strongly consider hiring a disability lawyer to handle your claim, as there are a number of things they can do to give you a better chance of having your claim approved. While anyone filing for disability benefits could benefit from the advice and representation an experienced lawyer brings to the table, it is especially important to seek representation when dealing with a condition you have already filed for disability with.
You will want to make sure your medial documentation clearly states the effects your medical conditions have on your day to day activities, as well as on your ability to perform work related activities such as sitting, standing, pushing, pulling, lifting, bending, and performing actions which require manual dexterity.
If you suffer from mental or emotional conditions, even if they aren’t the main reason you are applying for Social Security Disability benefits, you should make sure to include any effect they have on your ability to cope with the stress in the workplace. This should include any effect they may have on your ability to relate with supervisors or coworkers.
When you re-apply, prepare to be in it for the long haul. Chances are still high that your initial claim will be denied, even with new evidence. Your best chance for a successful claim comes during the appeals process, during your hearing before an Administrative Law Judge. Unlike the majority of the disability claims process, your hearing will give you the opportunity to make your case and present evidence of the effects of your disability in person before a person who has the authority to treat you as something more than a case file.
Don’t let frustration from having been turned down once for Social Security Disability benefits keep you from benefits you should be entitled to, especially if your condition has gotten worse. Consult a Social Security Disability attorney regarding your prospects of being approved for disability benefits in light of your current diagnosis. Click here to receive a free disability evaluation from an attorney who serves your area.