What Happens If You File A Late Social Security Appeal? (What is Good Cause?)

The Social Security administration gives disability applicants the right to appeal any decision that is made. If an individual's disability claim is denied, they have sixty days, plus five days for mailing, from the date on the disability denial notice to appeal their case decision.

If an individual misses the sixty-five day appeal period, they can still file a late appeal. However, Social Security has the right to deny that appeal on the basis that it was not returned timely.

Social Security regulations are fairly lenient when it comes to good cause for late filing reasons. These are some of the reasons to grant good cause for filing an appeal late:

1. You were very ill, and it prevented you from contacting Social Security by phone, letter, or through friends.

2. You experienced a death in your immediate family.

3. Your records were destroyed or damaged in a fire or some other accidental reason.

4. You have mental, physical, educational, or speech or language limitations that prevented you from filing a timely appeal.

5. You did not get the notice of decision from social security.

6. You were given incorrect information from Social Security about how to file a social security appeal such as an administrative review or civil suit.

7. You were trying to get the needed information to support your claim but you could not find it within the appeal time period.

These are just some of the many reasons an individual might be able to receive good cause for a late filing. From my experience, most Social Security field offices are fairly lenient with good cause for late filings at the reconsideration appeal level.

However, all of that changes when the late filing occurs at the request for hearing appeal level. Administrative law judges do not grant good cause liberally, and often they dismiss the case without a hearing.

Disability applicants should file their appeals timely and if they feel that they are not able to do so, they should obtain the services of a Social Security Disability representative. Social Security Disability representatives, either attorneys or non-attorney representatives, will make sure that all appeals are filed timely.

About the Author: Tim Moore is a former Social Security Disability Examiner in North Carolina, has been interviewed by the NY Times and the LA Times on the disability system, and is an Accredited Disability Representative (ADR) in North Carolina. For assistance on a disability application or Appeal in NC, click here.

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