Monday, July 05, 2010

What if Social Security Turns Your Disability Down?

A question from a forum that gets asked fairly often, but here's the answer: there is only one thing to do if you are turned down for disability. If you remain unable to work, you should file an appeal.

To appeal a disability denial, you must complete your appeal paperwork and return it to your local Social Security office prior to the end of the appeal period.

How long is the appeal period? The appeal period is sixty days, with an additional five days for the mailing of your decisional notice. This means you have sixty-five days from the date of your denial notice to appeal to your decision. A timely filed appeal must actually be in the Social Security office on the sixty-fifth day or earlier (not just post marked on the sixty-fifth day).

What happens if you don't get the appeal sent in on time? If you file your appeal late, there is a chance that you will be forced to start the disability process again with a new initial disability claim.

Sometimes, a claims representative will give you good cause for late filing of your appeal if there is a good reason as to why you did not file your appeal on time. Claims representatives are more flexible than administrative law judges about giving good cause for appeals that are not timely.

It has been my experience that most claims representatives in social security field offices give good cause for a late reconsideration appeal as long as it is not extremely late and you have a good reason for filing your appeal late. Administrative law judges, on the other hand, routinely dismiss disability-hearing requests if they are filed late.

If your reconsideration appeal is denied (about eighty-five percent are denied) make sure that you file your request for an administrative law judge hearing in a timely fashion, i.e. on time. The biggest consequence of filing a late hearing request is that there is a very good chance that you will have to file a new disability claim. And that means all of the time it took to process your initial disability claim and reconsideration appeal (a few months) was wasted.

When you are without money and unable to work, any time wasted just causes more financial and emotional stress. This is why it is so important to file your disability denial appeal timely and quickly as possible. Even timely appeals add to the overall processing time of your disability claim.

Keep in mind: If you wait an entire two months each time you appeal your disability claim (assuming that you are appealing the denial of a disability application and are later appealing the denial of a reconsideration request), you have added another four months to the processing time of your disability claim.

Obviously, just because SSA gives you two months to file an appeal, it's not really in your best interest to let your case sit on the backburner each time you receive a denial notice. In other words, if you get denied, file your appeal ASAP.

Return to the Social Security Disability SSI Benefits Blog

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For what medical conditions can you be approved for disability ?
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