What is the Application Process for Social Security Disability and SSI?
How do you Win Benefits under Social Security Disability or SSI?
If I am determined disabled, how far back will Social Security pay benefits?
How do you prove your disability case if you have a mental condition?
What Can I Do to Improve My Chances of Winning Disability Benefits
Common Mistakes after Receiving a Denial of Social Security Disability or SSI Benefits
How to File for Disability - Tips for Filing
If You Get Approved For SSDI Will You Also Get Medicare?
How much does a Social Security disability attorney get paid?
Social Security Disability SSI Criteria and the Evaluation Process
How long does it take to be approved for SSI or Social Security disability?
What do you Need to Prove to Qualify for Disability Benefits?
Social Security Disability SSI and Fibromyalgia
Social Security Disability SSI and Degenerative Disc Disease
Can I Qualify For Disability and Receive Benefits based on Depression?
Answers to questions about SSD and SSI disability
What Disabilities Qualify for SSI and Social Security Disability Benefits?
Social Security Disability Status
Social Security Disability Tips — how a claim gets worked on
Social Security Disability, SSI Disability - Terms, Definitions, Concepts
How Long Are You Given To Appeal Your Social Security Disability Denial?
How to prove you are disabled
and win disability benefits
If your disability claim has been denied, you can appeal your decision. Social Security has a disability appeal process that can take an individual from an initial disability claim all the way to federal court. The appeal steps, in order, are 1. the request for reconsideration (the first appeal that takes place after the denial of a disability application), 2. the request for a hearing before an administrative law judge, 3. the appeals council review (the appeal following a denial by a judge at a disability hearing), and 4. federal district court (for those individuals who have been denied by the appeals council).
The disability appeal period is the same no matter what level of the disability process the claim is at. Social Security allows an individual a sixty-day appeal period that begins with the date of the disability decision notice plus five days for the mailing of the decisional notice. This means that an individual has sixty-five days total to file their appeal with their local Social Security office. The appeal must be received in the Social Security office within the sixty-five days to be a timely appeal.
If you want to make sure that your disability claim moves to the next level of the disability process, it is important for your appeals to be timely. If you are not timely, your disability appeal might be denied for late filing.
In general, Social Security claims representatives (these are the people who work in social security offices and take claims for retirement and disability benefits) are somewhat flexible with a late filed appeal...if the disability claimant can provide a statement with a reasonable reason as to why their disability appeal was filed late.
The granting of good cause (good cause exists when the social security administrations accepts a claimant's excuse for submitting something in an untimely fashion) for the late filing of an appeal is at the discretion of the claims representative (CR). And the CR will have the final word on this for a request for reconsideration that was sent in late.
However, even if a CR grants good cause for the late filing of a request for a disability hearing (the second appeal in the system), the person who will have the last and final word on accepting the late appeal will be the judge who ends being assigned to hear the case. To repeat: even if a CR grants good cause for the late filing of a request for an administrative law judge hearing, the judge does not have to concur. Administrative law judges are not very flexible when it comes to late filing and they often do not grant good cause.
In most cases, however, sixty-five days is plenty of time to file an appeal. Social Security has even added an online appeal filing process that may be more convenient for disability applicants and the online appeal process is often used by disability lawyers and non-attorney disability representatives.
Return to: SSDRC, or the Questions, Answers, Tips, and Advice page
Individual Questions and Answers
SSD and SSI are Federal Programs
The title II Social Security Disability and title 16 SSI Disability programs operate under federal guidelines and, therefore, the program requirements--medical and non-medical--apply to all states:
Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming
Recent approval and denial statistics for various states can be viewed here:
Social Security Disability, SSI Approval and Denial Statistics by state
Special Section: Disability Lawyers and unnecessary claim denials