What do I do if an appeal deadline was missed by my disability lawyer?

After being denied 2 times, I hired an SS lawyer to handle my case. He missed the deadline for an appeals hearing and I didn't find out about it for almost 2 years. Tired of waiting, I contacted SS and they said they had no record of my claim. How does one handle such a predicament?

I am afraid there is only one way to handle it at this point and that is for your to file another disability claim. It is unlikely an ALJ would allow good cause or a hearing appeal two years after the denial of your reconsideration appeal.

Perhaps you may be approved with a new claim; there are many factors that affect a disability decision. You are a couple years older and that can make a difference if your conditions may have worsened. I know this is not an answer that is very palatable. The attorney missed your deadline and allowed your case to lapse. But, very unfortunately, it (filing a new claim) is the only way you may possibly get disability benefits.

I will say that the situation you experienced is one of the reasons why it is surely good advice to stay in routine contact with your disability representative or disability lawyer. By doing so you can both remain on the same page with regard to any notices that have been sent out by SSA, particularly notices of denial on a claim, but also notices regarding the scheduling of medical exams and also requests for information from you (usually made by the disability examiner).

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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