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  • Christopher Le

Filing an Appeal vs. Filing a New Claim After an ALJ Denial in a Social Security Disability Hearing

Receiving a denial from an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) at a Social Security Disability hearing can be disheartening and frustrating. However, it's essential to carefully consider your options for moving forward. In this blog post, we'll explore whether you should file an appeal or file a new claim after being denied by an ALJ in a Social Security Disability case.


Filing an Appeal: When Is It Appropriate?

  1. Understanding the Decision: The first step after a denial is to understand why your claim was denied. Carefully review the denial letter and consult with an attorney to grasp the specific reasons behind the rejection. If you believe the ALJ made an error in applying the law or overlooked critical evidence, an appeal may be warranted.

  2. Gathering New Evidence: If you can provide substantial new medical evidence or documentation that was not available at the time of your ALJ hearing, filing an appeal might make sense. New evidence could potentially strengthen your case and lead to a different decision on appeal.

  3. Timeframe Consideration: Keep in mind that the appeals process can be lengthy. If you are confident that you can address the issues raised by the ALJ and have the patience to go through another hearing, an appeal is a reasonable choice.


Filing a New Claim: When Is It Appropriate?

  1. Substantial Change in Circumstances: If your medical condition has worsened significantly since your initial claim or if you have a new, severe impairment that was not considered in your previous application, filing a new claim may be more effective. It allows you to present a fresh case with updated information.

  2. Time Limits for Appeals: It's important to be aware of the strict time limits for appeals. If you've missed the deadline for appealing the ALJ's decision, you may have no choice but to file a new claim. Social Security generally has a rule against reopening a claim after a specific timeframe has passed.

  3. Addressing Past Mistakes: If your previous application had errors or lacked crucial information that contributed to the denial, starting anew with a fresh application may be the best way to correct those mistakes.

  4. Change in Representation: Sometimes, applicants change their legal representation after a denial. If you now have a different attorney who believes a new claim is the best course of action, it's worth considering their expert advice.


Deciding whether to file an appeal or file a new claim after being denied by an ALJ at a Social Security Disability hearing depends on the specifics of your case. Carefully evaluate the reasons for the denial, the presence of new evidence, and any changes in your medical condition or legal representation. Consulting with an experienced attorney is crucial to making an informed decision. Remember that each case is unique, and the path to securing Social Security Disability benefits may vary based on individual circumstances.


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