Getting a Disability Appeal sent in and on Time

In a prior post, I spoke about the frequent difficulty of getting in touch with the social security office and how this can pose a problem for individuals who need to file a Social Security Disability appeal or SSI appeal. With that in mind, here's a short list of things to do following a disability denial, the goal being to avoid missing an appeal deadline.

1. As soon as you receive notification in the mail informing you that you that you have been denied for disability, call the social security office to request an appeal. If you were denied on a disability application, then the appeal will be a request for reconsideration. If you were denied on a reconsideration, the appeal will be a request for hearing.

2. If you don't have representation in the form of an attorney or a qualified non-attorney representative, then complete your appeal forms immediately after you receive them. You have two months time in which to do this (despite having sixty days, an extraordinary number of would-be appellants actually miss their disability appeal deadlines). But, to save processing time on your case, you shouldn't let any more time go by than necessary.

3. If you are represented, after you have called the social security office to request your appeal, contact your disability representative. Technically, you shouldn't have to do this because once the social security administration has been notified that you have a representative, they are required to send copies of all correspondence to your representative. However, that doesn't always happen. For this reason, it is always a safe idea to call your attorney when you receive a notice of denial, just in case they did not receive their copy. By doing this, you can help to ensure that a filing deadline is not missed.

Now, if you are represented, why should you bother calling the social security office to request your appeal? Shouldn't it be enough to simply contact your attorney and have them file the appeal? Technically, yes. However, redundancy is never a bad thing when it comes to the disability process. By contacting SSA and requesting a hearing, you'll get your request formally on record and you will be sent copies of your appeal paperwork. This will allow you to actually do your own appeal in the unlikely event that A) you discharge your disability attorney or B) you find out that your disability attorney has let your case fall through the cracks and has failed to submit an appeal.

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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