If your disability application with Social Security gets denied you have the right to appeal. Under most circumstances that appeal has to be filed within 60 days. However, if you’ve got a valid reason why you didn’t or why you were unable to file on time, you can still win your case with a late appeal.
Filing Late Can Doom an Appeal
The best thing to do when you get a letter denying your disability is to call your lawyer. If you don’t have one, this is the time to find and hire one. A lawyer can help you file your appeal in the way that best preserves your rights - by doing so within 60 days of the denial.
If you don’t appeal within 60 days, you’ll have to win two fights with the Social Security Administration:
- Whether you are disabled; and
- whether you gave up your right to prove you are disabled.
In 2019, a fight over a late appeal made it all the way to the United States Supreme Court. It took the claimant 5 years to get to the Supreme Court, and that didn’t even finish his case.
If you can, appeal on time. But if you can’t all is not lost.
“Good Cause” for Late Appeal
If you can show there was a good reason why your appeal is late, Social Security should let you file your appeal late. They refer to those good reasons as “good cause.” There are at least four ways you can show good cause:
- Show that circumstances kept you from making the request on time, despite your efforts to do so;
- Show that Social Security somehow misled you about the status of your case, or when and how to appeal;
- Show that you didn’t understand what was required because of some change in the law by Congress or the Courts; or
- Show that due to some personal limitation (physical, mental, educational, or linguistic) you were prevented from appealing on time.
Those are relatively broad categories. When you appeal late, be sure to explain why your late appeal fits into one of those four categories.
Examples of Good Cause for a Late Appeal
To have good cause, you need to fit your reason into one of the categories above. It would be even better if you can show your reason for being late fits into one or more of the examples provided by Social Security. The following are examples of “good cause” according to Social Security:
- You had a serious illness that prevented you from appealing;
- There was a death or serious illness in your family;
- Your records were destroyed in a fire or other accident;
- You were looking hard, but couldn’t find some necessary records in 60 days;
- You did not receive notice of the denial from Social Security; or
- You sent your appeal to the wrong place.
Where to learn more:
- Use Disability Alabama’s disability calculator for an estimate of your benefit. While you do not need any special information to complete the calculation you may want to take a moment to think about your average yearly income and current household income before using the disability calculator; and
- Check out the Social Security manual on how to determine “good cause;” or
- Contact us by following the “Learn more” button below.