Our Disability Lawyers Define Good Excuses for Late Disability Appeals
Our disability lawyers have conferred on what Social Security disability claimants can do about missed appeal deadlines. Most claimants start again with a new claim for disability benefits. Some, however, may be able to persuade the Social Security Administration (SSA) to accept their appeals even after late filings and untimely.
Good Cause for Missing Appeal Deadlines
Disability lawyers in Atlanta GA have found that SSA may decide whether to excuse for good cause a failure to file an appeal from a denial of benefits in time. To make its decision, the SSA considers
- whether any circumstances prevented timely filing,
- whether SSA or the Centers for Medicare or Medicaid Services (CMS) confused or misled the claimant into missing the deadline,
- whether the claimant misunderstood what was needed, or
- whether a physiological, cognitive, educational, or other limitation prevented the claimant from filing the appeal on time.
Examples of Good Cause
SSA has published some examples of circumstances in which disability claimants had good cause for late appeals. If the reason for missing a deadline is not on this list, SSA may find good cause in other circumstances. Disability lawyers in Atlanta GA say the examples simply indicate some circumstances in which SSA may find good cause to excuse the untimeliness. SSA may find good cause if:
- The claimant was very sick and could not make contact with SSA personally or through someone else. There must be a showing of serious sickness or SSA will find that the tardy claimant or an intermediary could have submitted the appeal when due.
- Fire or some other disaster at the time of the filing deadline destroyed records essential to the appeal and necessary to meet the deadline. Destruction by fire of the claim denial notice inside claimant's residence the day before the filing deadline might be a reasonable explanation good cause for missed deadline.
- The claimant requested from SSA additional information about its denial before the filing. The claimant then would have 60 days after receipt from SSA of the additional information requested to file for an appeal.
- SSA or CMS gave the claimant incorrect or confusing information about appealing from the denial of the claim.
- The claimant did not comprehend or was unable to comply with the requirement to file an appeal at or before the deadline because of a mental impairment.
- The claimant never received the SSA notice of the claim denial. Proof that the claimant never received the notice is necessary. As an example, if SSA negligently mails the denial notice to the wrong address, there might be good cause to excuse the late appeal.
- The claimant submitted the appeal to the wrong government office before deadline, but that office did not forward the filing to SSA until after the deadline.
- Other unusual or unavoidable circumstances made any expectation of a timely filing unreasonable.
As a general rule, the later the appeal filing, the harder it is to argue for a finding of good cause. If, for instance, the claimant after a heart attack is a hospital inpatient for three weeks at the time of the filing deadline, there is no basis for good cause or excuse for filing the appeal six months late.
How to Request SSA Acceptance of a Late Appeal
The request to accept a late appeal must be in writing. The claimant submits the appeal form and then explains the reason for good cause on the form or on a separate filing at the same time.
SSA must accept the appeal for processing no matter how late. Once the claimant files the late appeal with an explanation of why there should be a finding of good cause, the SSA must decide whether the explanation amounts to a good excuse for the late filing. SSA might contact the claimant to ask for more information for the explanation.
Consult Disability Lawyers in Atlanta GA
Anyone unable to work because of disability may be eligible for Social Security disability benefits. How do claimants qualify? The SSA decides claims on many factors; severity of a medical condition, age, education, and work history are examples. In one important way, claimants can improve their chances of winning disability claims.
Experienced disability lawyers in Atlanta GA can make the difference between winning or losing. In Social Security cases there is no substitute for the advice and advocacy of a skillful, experienced lawyer, especially in appeals from claim denials. Louis B Lusk has a long track record of good results in disability cases. And there is never any fee due until clients win their claims with awards of benefits. Call 404-250-7000 or 800-883-7043 today for a free case consultation.