In the practice of law, it is never acceptable to miss a deadline upon which you are required to file a document. In most circumstances, failure to meet a deadline can be fatal to your case.
Fortunately, if you have missed the deadline upon which you must file an appeal of an unfavorable decision by the Social Security Administration (SSA), it does not always spell the end of your application for disability benefits.
The SSA Act allows for the reopening of cases and acceptance of untimely appeals if you have a “Good Cause.” That is, if you have a good reason why you did not file your appeal on time, then you can submit a “good cause” statement as to why you were late.
There are a number of these “Good Causes” cited in the SSA Act. Here are a few examples that it lists:
- The claimant was seriously ill and was prevented from contacting the Social Security Administration (SSA) in person, in writing, or through a friend, relative, or other person;
- There was a death or serious illness in the claimant’s immediate family;
- Important records were destroyed or damaged by fire or other accidental cause;
- The claimant was trying very hard to find necessary information to support his or her claim but did not find the information within the stated time periods;
- The claimant asked us for additional information explaining our action within the time limit, and within 60 days of receiving the explanation the claimant requested reconsideration or a hearing;
- SSA gave the claimant incorrect or incomplete information about when and how to request administrative review;
- The claimant did not receive notice of the determination;
- The claimant sent the request to another government agency in good faith within the time limit, and the request did not reach SSA until after the time period had expired;
- Unusual or unavoidable circumstances existed which show that the claimant could not have known of the need to file timely, or which prevented the claimant from filing timely; or
- The claimant relied on a representative to timely file a request, and the representative failed to do so.
If you have missed the deadline to file your appeal please do not hesitate to contact us as soon as you can, even if the reason you missed the deadline is not listed above, as there still remains a chance we can file a request to have your Social Security case reopened.
Remember, the above are merely examples contained in the SSA Act of “Good Causes,” it is not an exhaustive list.
If we are able to persuade the SSA that you are not at fault, you will not have to start the entire process over again and — perhaps most importantly — you will also preserve your claim to past due disability benefits.
If you have missed an appeal deadline or if you have not applied for disability benefits and suffer from a severe impairment that is expected to last more than twelve months and that prevents you from doing any of your past or other work, please contact our office nearest to you to set up a free consultation appointment to discuss your situation.