Autumn Park Bench

Do you have to be denied twice to get Social Security disability?

Clients often tell me that you have to be denied two or three times before Social Security will approve your case. I am not sure how these rumors get started but unfortunately, this belief often causes people to take what may be the wrong action in their case.

True or False?


REALITY: If you are denied (on an initial claim), you may be able to file a Request for Reconsideration (appeal 1) and if that is denied, a Request for Hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (appeal 2).

I agree that often your best chance to win is in front of an Administrative Law Judge. So there is some truth in the myth that you have to be denied twice (at the initial application and at the reconsideration phase) before you have your best chance of being found disabled.

BUT, rather than APPEALING the denial, people often interpret the myth to mean they have to RE-APPLY two or three times in order to win. Re-applying may be the worst thing you can do.

If you re-apply, your case may be reviewed by the same technicians who reviewed your case initially. If the technician denied your case once, he or she is likely to deny your case again. Even if a new technician reviews your case, in my opinion, there seems to be a kind of inertia with Social Security. If a case was denied before, it is hard to get Social Security to change course and approve a case by filing a new claim.

However, if you APPEAL a case. The case gets taken out of the local Social Security office and is transferred to the Office of Disability Adjudication and Review (ODAR for short), which is the appeals office. Fresh eyes review the case; not just technicians but staff attorneys and judges. A case often has its best chance in front of a Judge.

So, do not be afraid to appeal! It may be just what your case needs.