If you’ve tried to get and been turned down for disability benefits from the Social Security Administration (SSA) in the past, then you already know how long the disability review can often take.
You need disability benefits, but you don’t want to wait months again for Disability Determination Services (DDS) to review your claim only to be denied a second time.
Reapplying is likely the right move at some point, but knowing exactly when to submit a new claim can be a challenge. If you’re still unable to maintain employment because of your limitations, you may now be able to reapply and get approved more quickly.
The rate of review and the outcome of a second application depend on whether your medical condition has worsened or if you now qualify for expedited review procedures.
Has Your Condition Worsened?
If the DDS decided your medical condition wasn’t severe enough to prevent employment with your first claim, then you must wait until something changes before submitting a new claim.
In other words, it’s only if your medical condition worsens or you develop another, new disability that you can potentially reapply for Social Security and be approved.
Even if your condition has worsened, it may still take quite awhile. The SSA is consistently backlogged and they will need to obtain copies of your new medical records as well.
You can speed up your claim by getting copies of your medical records yourself and submitting these directly to the SSA via mail or in-person. If you send or drop off your medical records, you should do so at your local SSA office.
Can You Now Meet or Match a Disability Listing?
You may have previously been denied benefits because you were unable to meet or closely match a disability listing in the SSA’s Blue Book. If this is the case, and your condition has worsened, you’ll want to work closely with your doctor to know if you can now qualify medically under a listed condition.
Your primary care doctor or a specialist can review the appropriate disability listing and required medical documentation. He or she can help you decide if now is the right time to reapply.
If your condition has worsened and now meets the disability listing or closely matches another one, then your application for benefits may be approved and your claim may be reviewed more quickly this time around.
Using the Compassionate Allowances Program
Even if your disability has worsened and now meets a disability listing, your application can take weeks or perhaps months to go through the review process. The only guaranteed exception to this timeframe is if you now qualify for expedited review for a CAL list disability.
CAL is the SSA’s Compassionate Allowances program and is designed to get critical applications reviewed as fast as possible so people with inherently disabling conditions and terminal illnesses are able to receive benefits more quickly.
You can review the CAL list online, and share the information about your condition with your doctor.
If you’re eligible for CAL consideration, then your new application for disability will be flagged immediately upon submission. The DDS will then push your claim through the review stage quickly.
You can speed up your review even further by submitting the required medical records along with or shortly after sending the SSA your new application.
Getting Help with Your Application
Since you’ve already been denied once, you’ll want to do everything you can to ensure you have a more successful claim the second time around. Working closely with your doctor to ensure you have appropriate medical records to satisfy SSA evidence requirements is crucial.
You may additionally want to seek assistance from a disability advocate or lawyer. An attorney offers the initial consultation meeting at no charge and then works on contingency, which means he or she only gets paid if you’re approved for disability benefits.