Res Judicata and What it Means to Your Social Security Disability Claim

By Disability Group

What is Res Judicata?

Res Judicata just means that if you have had a previous unfavorable administrative law judge (ALJ) decision, the Social Security Administration can use that decision to deny your new claim.  Res judicata prevents you from obtaining any benefits for the time period before the ALJ’s  decision.

Some Exceptions to Res Judicata

1.  If you have different disabilities in your new application, res judicata will not apply. Also, if new evidence has been submitted it will not apply.

 2.  If Social Security law that affects the case has changed or different law applies res judicata will not apply.

 3.  If the prior final decision was not made at a hearing in front of an administrative law judge res judicata does not apply.

Taking Res Judicata Into Consideration Before a Hearing

Because an unfavorable hearing decision can prevent a new claim, go forward with a hearing only if you feel you have a good chance at success. If your case is weak you may want to reapply when you have better evidence.  It is vital to discuss all options with an experienced Social Security attorney before going to hearing on a Social Security claim.