Meeting Deadlines in Your Social Security Disability Appeal

The lawyers of Harrison, White, Smith & Coggins, P.C., want you to focus on one figure when it comes to Social Security Disability (SSD) appeals: 60 days.

At every possible stage in your appeal, you will need to submit your request for reconsideration or review (or file your complaint) within 60 days from the date of your last denial.

However, at each stage, you will also be given an additional five days for mailing time.

Keep in mind: You must make your request in writing and use any forms that are required. Most importantly, the office you are sending your appeal request to must receive the request within that 60-day period (plus the five days for mailing).

If you miss a deadline, your claim could be dismissed. You will have to file an entirely new application. However, in some cases, you may be able to receive an extension of time.

An Example of How SSD Deadlines Work

If your initial application is denied, you will receive a letter from the SSA field office. The date of the denial will usually be on the first page. Let’s say the stamped date of denial in your case is January 3, 2013.

You will need to submit to the DDS a Form SSA-561, or Request for Reconsideration. If your application was denied for medical reasons, you will also need to file two other forms:

  • Form SSA-3441 (Disability Report-Appeal) and
  • Form SSA-827 (Authorization to Disclose Information to the Social Security Administration).

Generally, the SSA field office would need to receive all required documents within 60 days from your denial date. So, in our example, that date would be 60 days from January 3, 2013, or March 4, 2013.

However, because you are given five days for mailing time, the SSA would need to receive these documents within 65 days from the denial date, or March 9, 2013. (If the deadline falls on a weekend, the deadline would move to the next business day).

What Can You Do If You Miss a Social Security Disability Appeals Deadline?

Typically, it should not be difficult to meet these deadlines. You will usually know right away whether you want to appeal a denial. Completing the required forms by paper or online at the SSA website can be done in roughly 1-2 hours of time. An attorney from Harrison, White, Smith & Coggins, P.C., can help you and make the process go more smoothly for you.

However, we realize that circumstances arise that can prevent you from meeting your SSD appeals deadline. Don’t panic. You can make a request in writing for an extension of time. You can submit this request to the DDS office, ALJ or the Appeals Council.

In the request, you simply need to establish “good cause” for being unable to meet the deadline. In deciding whether good cause exists, the reviewing office will consider:

  • Issues that prevented you from making a timely appeal
  • Whether any SSA action or information misled you
  • Whether any physical, mental, education or language limitations prevented you from filing a timely appeal request or kept you from understanding what you needed to do.

The SSA provides an extensive list of situations where good cause may exist such as:

  • You were seriously ill, or there was a serious illness or death of a family member
  • Medical, employment or other vital records in your case were accidentally destroyed
  • You made “serious efforts” to find information about your appeal (such as contacting the SSA) but weren’t able to get it within the 60-day time period
  • You never received notice that your claim was denied
  • You sent your appeal request “in good faith” to the wrong office or agency.
  • If any other “unusual or unavoidable circumstances exist.”

Talk with a S.C. Lawyer about Social Security Disability Appeals Deadlines in Your Case

The SSA typically frowns on extensions. That is why it is crucial to do everything possible to meet appeals deadlines in your SSD case. You don’t want to miss out on obtaining benefits – or delay the process – when you and your family have an immediate need for those benefits.

However, the best way to prevent missing these deadlines is to contact an attorney as soon as you receive your first denial letter from Social Security. An experienced attorney can help you with the appeal process and be sure that none of these important deadlines is missed.

Don’t wait: Contact Harrison, White, Smith & Coggins, P.C. We can make sure your appeal request is filed in a timely manner and be sure that your case is proceeding as smoothly as possible.

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