Social Security Appeals Time Limit

Social Security Disability decisions always include an appeal period in which an individual can appeal their decision if they do not agree with Social Security's decision. That period is time sensitive. Social Security Disability appeal periods begin with the date of an individual's disability decisional notice and end sixty-five days later. This in effect gives an individual sixty-five days to get their appeal completed and returned to their local Social Security office.

Social Security offers an online appeal and a traditional paper appeal process to make the appeals more convenient for disability applicants.

If an individual completes their disability decisional appeal online, they should make sure, in addition to completing their request for an appeal, that they also complete the disability report form (an electronic form that gathers information about medical treatment, additional limitations, etc) as well.

Additionally, if they are required to print and return any forms, they should make sure that they do so. Individuals filing paper appeal forms generally have to complete the same forms and return any necessary forms to their local Social Security office.

The method of completing the appeal is of little consequence, but it is important to complete the appeal and return it to Social Security by the sixty-fifth day following the date of the denial notice. If the appeal is not returned timely it may be denied, if "good cause for late filing" is not granted.

Generally, Social Security offices are somewhat flexible on reconsideration appeals that are a little late as long as the individual can provide a statement that gives a good explanation as to why the appeal was filed late.

If the Social Security claims representative accepts the reason for late filing, they will grant the individual good cause for filing their appeal late. This will allow the appeal to be sent for a medical determination.

However, administrative law judges are generally not very flexible with late filing of hearings requests and they routinely deny hearing requests on the basis of late filing.

To sum it up, Social Security has an appeal period time limit and it is in the best interest of disability applicants to make sure that they file their appeals timely if they wish to avoid having to begin the disability process again.

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.

Questions and Answers

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