May 24, 2011

Missed The Deadline For Filing Your Social Security Disability Appeal?

You have received a denial from the Social Security Administration (SSA) for your Indiana Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits and you had sixty (60) days to appeal this decision. In Indianapolis Social Security disability attorney Scott Lewis’ experience, this is an all too familiar scenario.  As some Indiana disability claimants experience, sixty (60) days may not seem like a whole lot of time and passes by before you know it causing you to miss the deadline set forth by the SSA to file an appeal. All SSDI or SSI claimants’ that have been denied disability benefits have the right to appeal that denial decision. As stated above, disability claimants have sixty (60) days from the date of the denial letter to file an appeal. Although, the SSA takes into account that the appeal period begins with the date of the denial notice, so they allow five additional days for the mailing time of the denial notice. Basically, this means that any disability applicant who receives a disability denial has five (5) extra days, for a total of sixty-five (65) days, to get their appeal to Social Security. In order for an appeal to be timely it must be in the Social Security office of jurisdiction on the sixty-fifth day from the date of the notice of denial.

Disability claimants that want to file an appeal have a few ways to file the appeal. Appeals can be filed the following ways:

  • Online at the Social Security Administration’s website at www.ssa.gov,
  • Mail in paper appeal forms, or
  • You can go to your local SSA office and file your appeal in person.

It really does not matter which method you choose, just make sure to complete all necessary forms and return any requested forms by the deadline date. Disability claimants that are represented by a disability attorney (or representative) should contact their disability lawyer immediately when they receive their denial letter so that he/she can file your SSDI or SSI disability appeal on the claimant’s behalf.

What happens when a disability claimant misses the Social Security disability appeal date deadline? This depends upon the Social Security Administration’s claims representative who receives your appeal request. It also depends on how late the appeal is, and the reason your appeal was filed late.  If a claimant has “good cause” for filing their appeal late, the SSA just may allow the appeal request to be granted.

According to Social Security guidelines, good cause for a late filing can be granted for some of, but not limited to, the following reasons:

  1. The most commonly cited reason for filing a late appeal is that the claimant did not receive the denial notice.
  2. Claimants with a mental illness or physical limitations may find it difficult to keep up with the paperwork or be unable to complete the necessary forms in a timely manner.
  3. Some disability claimants are not able to complete the appeals paperwork due to a language barrier or illiteracy.

Indianapolis Social Security disability lawyer Scott Lewis identifies the above are just some of the reasons an individual may have filed their appeal late. Once you discover that you have missed the appeal deadline for whatever the reason, you must provide the Social Security Administration with a written statement as to why you were late in filing your appeal. There are no guarantees that the SSA will accept your late appeal, but it may be worth the attempt. If the SSA does not grant “good cause” for the late filing, you will have no other choice but to file a new initial disability claim and start the application process from the beginning. In disability lawyer Scott Lewis’ experience, some Administrative Law Judges (ALJs) are not very flexible with late filing for hearing requests and they have the option to dismiss them without what they believe is good cause.

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