Filing a claim for disability benefits can be complex and time consuming. Most applicants are often initially denied and have to go through the appeals process to obtain the benefits they need. Part of this process involves filing appeals within a timely manner with the Social Security Administration (SSA). If you miss the appeal deadline, you will likely have to start over and re-apply for disability benefits.
The disability lawyers at Dayes Law Firm outline the importance of taking immediate action if your disability claim has been denied and certain circumstances that make it acceptable to file a late appeal. For help applying for disability or appealing a decision, request a free legal consultation to get started.
Appealing a Denied Disability Claim
The process trying to obtain disability benefits does not have to stop if you receive a denied claim. You have the right to file an appeal, several times if it is needed. You have 60 days from the date you received notice that you had been denied disability benefits to appeal the SSA's decision.
There are four levels of appeals. The first is having your claim reconsidered for review by a different examiner than the one who initially denied your claim. Should you not agree with the outcome, you can request a hearing before an administrative law judge (ALJ). The ALJ with review all of your medical documentation and you will have the chance to testify and tell the judge why you are unable to work. You will be asked about your symptoms and how your disability affects your daily life and relationships.
If the ALJ hearing is unsatisfactory, the Appeals Council can review your claim or decide that another ALJ will review it and make a decision. The last step would be filing a lawsuit in federal court for a final decision. The appeals process can take many months. Having a lawyer by your side could make it easier.
Taking Immediate Action is Important
It is important that you not delay filing an appeal after being denied disability benefits. If an appeal is not filed within a timely manner, that window of opportunity will close and you would have to re-apply for disability benefits. This means starting the claims process all over again.
The SSA has a mandated time limit on disability appeals for several reasons. Due to an overwhelming volume of both Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) applications, the SSA would not be able to process old or outdated appeals. The time limits in place help streamline the process that would otherwise result in massive backlogs and an insufficient system.
Reasons Social Security May Approve Missing an Appeal Deadline
In most situations, if you miss the deadline to appeal, you will have to file a new disability claim. However, under certain circumstances, the SSA may accept your appeal even if you filed late.
The SSA will decide whether you had a good reason for not filing your appeal on time by taking the following into consideration:
- If there were any circumstance that did not allow you to file in a timely manner
- If you were confused or misled by anything that caused you to miss the deadline
- If you understand what needed to be done to file an appeal
- If you had a physical, mental or language problem that did not allow you to file on time
For instance, some good reasons could include:
- You were seriously sick
- An immediate family member died or got seriously sick
- Records needed for appeal destroyed (fire or another accident)
- Actively gathered evidence for your claim but failed to request an extension
- You did not receive a denial notice (sent to wrong address or never mailed out)
Call Our Firm to Learn More
Hiring a qualified disability attorney is one of the best ways to ensure that your appeal is filed correctly and on time. Our Phoenix Social Security Disability lawyers have many years of experience helping guide clients through the claims or appeals process to get the disability benefits they need.
An consultation with a member of our legal team is complimentary. There is no risk in calling us to discuss whether you have a valid claim and you are under no obligation to retain our services. We operate on contingency, which means you pay us nothing up front unless we help you obtain benefits.
We can be reached 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Ph: 1-800-503-2000.