If your initial application for Social Security disability is denied, you can appeal that unfavorable decision. If you believe you’re truly disabled under the Social Security Association’s definition of disability, then you may win benefits during the appeals process.
For the SSA to consider you disabled, you must have a physical or mental disability for at least one year or until death and not be able to work any job that would provide you with gainful employment.
In Most Cases, You Must File Your Appeal With the SSA Within 60 Days
It’s important to know that if you are filing for an appeal, you must do so in a timely manner. You have 60 days from the date you receive the notice of denial for your first application to file for the appeal. If you do not do so within the time frame, you must start the process all over again. However, there are some extenuating circumstances in which the SSA will accept a late filing for an appeal. Here are some reasons the SSA might excuse a late filing:
Reason #1: Destroyed Records
If the records or evidence you needed to provide for the appeal were destroyed in an accident or fire, this could be an acceptable excuse. These records must have been important to meeting the deadline, and the destruction must have occurred close to the cutoff date. For example, if your denial notice and date were in your home that burned down a week before you were supposed to file for your appeal, this would be considered reasonable for missing the deadline.
Reason #2: Illness
If you were very sick during the time frame when the appeal filing was due and you were not about to contact the SSA because of your illnesses, this might be viable. You need to be able to prove that you were seriously ill and provide evidence of this, or the SSA may not accept this reason.
Reason #3: Additional Information Needed Before You Can File Your Appeal
If you requested additional information regarding why your initial application was denied from the SSA before your deadline, you have 60 days from when the additional information arrived to request an appeal.
Reason #4: Death
If someone in your immediate family became gravely ill or died, the SSA might accept this as a reason you were not able to file in time.
Reason #5: Lack Of Understanding About the Appeals Process
If the SSA gave you wrong or confusing information about filing for an appeal, it would not be your fault if you weren’t able to file on time. Additionally, if a mental of physical condition caused you to not understand what was required of you in terms of filing by a deadline, you misunderstood and sent your request to a different agency or you did not receive a denial notice, the SSA may accept these excuses and allow you to file late. If you didn’t receive a notice, you’ll need to prove it, such as if the SSA sent the note to your wrong address even though you gave them the correct address.
Contact A Legal Professional
Because the whole application and appeals process for SSD benefits can be time consuming and complicated, you might want to contact an advocate or attorney who specializes in this subject matter. A Social Security attorney or advocate may be able to help you sort through confusing information from the SSA and ensure that you file all of your paperwork by the deadlines.