Simple answer - it can. Always let your attorney know if you have filed for Social Security disability beneifts in the past. If you previously applied for Social Security Disability Benefits were denied, you can reapply and ask that your previous application be reopened.
Reopening an application can lead to more benefits being paid. Disability Insurance Benefits are paid as of your onset date of disability or one year prior to the application date, whichever is later. So, let's say that someone filed an application for Disability Insurance Benefits on May 1, 2010, alleging disability beginning August 1, 2009. The claim was denied on June 20, 2010 and was not appealed. It became final. If the same person filed a new application in May 2011, they need to ask for the previous application to be reopened. If the application is reopened the person will be entitled to benefits as of August 2009 (the onset date of disability). If the application is not reopened, the person will only receive benefits as of May 2010 (one year prior to the application that is awarded). There are certain requirements and time limits for reopening a previous denial.
If you were previously denied and are currently seeking benefits, you should talk to an experienced disability attorney to make sure you receive all benefits for which you are entitled. Tell your attorney if you have applied for benefits in the past - he or she may be able to help you reopen that old claim.