December 24, 2014

Time Constraints on Appealing Your Indiana Social Security Disability Case

All too often, people call me for help in appealing their Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and/or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) claims, only to find out they have waited too long.  If Social Security denies your claim for Social Security disability benefits, you have sixty days to appeal that decision.  (Actually, Social Security allows five extra days for mailing time, so you have a total of sixty-five days from the date of your denial letter.)  If you have not submitted the appropriate forms before the deadline, Social Security will very likely dismiss your claim.  If that happens, you will probably have to start all over with another initial application.

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There can be times when the Social Security Administration (SSA) will accept an appeal filed after the deadline, but they will only do so if there is “good cause” for the late filing.  If you forgot the deadline, lost the paperwork, or just didn’t get the forms filled out on time, Social Security probably will not find that you have good cause.  On the other hand, if you were hospitalized, had a death in your immediate family, or never received the denial letter because Social Security sent it to the wrong address, there is a good chance that the SSA will accept your late filing.  Social Security makes a decision about good cause on a case-by-case basis.  The best thing to do is to file the appeal as soon as possible after you receive the denial.

How can you make sure you don’t miss Social Security’s filing deadlines?  Here are some tips:

  • Keep your Social Security office informed about changes in your address and/or telephone number.
  • Follow up with Social Security regarding your claim.  In my office, we follow up about once a month during the initial application and reconsideration stages to make sure that the claim is being processed smoothly and we haven’t missed any important communications.
  • Keep written records about your telephone communications with Social Security.  Write down dates, names of people with whom you spoke, and what they told you.  Keep copies of forms and other paperwork you have submitted.  That way, if questions or problems arise later, you will have a record showing your efforts to stay on top of your claim.
  • If you have trouble meeting deadlines, have somebody help you.  A friend or relative can help you complete paperwork.  Many people hire a qualified Social Security disability attorney or representative to help them make sure all their forms are completed correctly and submitted on time.

The application and appeals process for Social Security disability benefits can take a long time, even when you promptly provide information and meet all of the deadlines.  Filing a late appeal and having to start the whole process over again might add months to an already long and frustrating waiting time and can delay the payments you deserve due to your disabling condition.

The Social Security Administration is probably not going to remind you when your deadlines approach.  An attorney or qualified representative can help ease your burden by keeping track of those deadlines and following up with the Social Security office.  My Indianapolis Social Security disability office works on a contingency basis. This means no fees are charged to you unless you win your claim and receive past-due benefits.

My office staff and I spend quite a bit of time explaining to our clients how long they have to wait to finally have their day in front of an Administrative Law Judge.  We understand how frustrating it can be to have to wait so long when you are unable to work and provide for your family.  We know how important it is to meet Social Security’s deadlines so we can keep the appeals process flowing as smoothly as we can.  We can answer many of your questions over the telephone.  My experience is that if you are proactive in your claim, it can only help you obtain a favorable result.

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