Posted by Louis B. Lusk
If you file a new claim for Social Security disability benefits and receive a “Denial Letter” from the Social Security Administration (“SSA”), you may appeal this decision. This appeal, called a “Request for Reconsideration” generally must be filed within 60 days of your receipt of the denial letter.
I am often contacted by individuals who were turned down for disability and have already missed the 60 day deadline to file an appeal. In those cases I try and find out if the person may qualify for an extension of time in which to file the Request for Reconsideration.
You may, in fact, be able to get permission to file the appeal after the 60 days has expired. This extension will be granted only if SSA determines you have “good cause” (in other words, a good reason) for missing the deadline.
Examples of acceptable reasons for the missing of the deadline include being hospitalized or otherwise incapacitated due to illness, not receiving the Denial letter, a death in the family, or mistakenly submitting the appeal to the wrong government agency. Examples of what would not usually be deemed “good cause” include miscalculating the deadline date or simply misplacing the Denial Letter.
I routinely file Motions for Good Cause to allow my clients to file the Request for Reconsideration past the 60 day deadline. I have been successful in getting the extensions to many clients who would otherwise have had to start the entire application process over. Many times I will argue that my client’s health problems impede their ability to understand the appeal process. Other times my clients are illiterate and therefore unable to understand the denial letter and the written appeal requirements.
If SSA approves your Motion for Good Cause and accepts the late filing of the Request for Reconsideration, the appeal is accepted and the claim is sent to a different adjudicator for a review. You may be able to win your claim at this “Reconsideration” level. However, if you also get turned down at this level, you may file an appeal called a “Request for Hearing.” This appeal must be filed within 60 days of the receipt of denial of the Request for Reconsideration, and the same “Good Cause” extension rules apply at this level as well.
Therefore, if you get turned down for Social Security disability, remember that time is of the essence. You should either file an appeal or contact an experienced disability attorney to file the appeal for you ASAP!