Reopening a Social Security Disability Claim
Many Claimants have filed multiple Social Security disability claims over the years without ever having appealed the claim past the initial denial. The amount of back pay a Claimant can receive depends on the date of his or her application. In certain circumstances, a prior claim can be “reopened” so as to allow the Claimant to receive benefits dating back to a prior application and thereby entitling the Claimant to more in back pay. Recently, the Social Security Administration has clarified its position on when and what is required in order for a prior claim to be reopened.
On May 1, 2017, the Social Security Administration issued HALLEX II-5-1-9 entitled, “When the Appeals Council or an Administrative Law Judge May Exercise the Discretion to Reopen a Determination or Decision Based on New and Material Evidence.” Under this HALLEX, the Appeals Council or an Administrative Law Judge can reopen an otherwise binding decision only if there is new and material evidence that meets the following criteria:
1) The new and material evidence was not part of the claim record as of the date the determination or decision was made;
2) The new and material evidence must relate to the period on or before the date of the determination or decision; and
3) The new and material evidence shows facts that would have resulted in a different conclusion as to eligibility, entitlement, or benefit amount than originally reached had the evidence been introduced or available at the time of the determination or decision.
HALLEX II-5-1-0 delineates the Social Security Administration’s position with regard to reopening a prior claim. The new and material evidence must show that a different decision would have been reached had that new and material evidence been provided to either the Appeals Council or an Administrative Law Judge at the time of the first determination or decision. A Claimant should consult and hire an attorney to assist them in reopening a prior claim.
For more information on Social Security disability benefits and VA benefits, contact an experienced Social Security disability attorney at Gardberg & Kemmerly, P.C. Gardberg & Kemmerly, P.C. represents Social Security disability claimants in Alabama, Mississippi, Florida, and Louisiana at all levels of the disability process from initial application to appeals to Federal Court. Gardberg & Kemmerly, P.C. has been helping Social Security claimants with their disability claims for over 50 years.