Extending the Deadline for an Appeal

As a Social Security attorney can tell you, it is possible to extend the deadline for appealing a denial, if you have a good reason for missing the deadline. To have the deadline extended, you need to send a detailed letter along with your appeal. The letter should explain why your request for a review of the decision or determination is late. You may also need to include an affidavit, depending on the situation.

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Good Cause
If you file a late Request for Hearing, an administrative law judge will decide whether you have a sufficient reason, or good cause for sending your request after the deadline has passed. The Appeals Council will decide whether or not you have good cause if you send in a late Request for Review of Hearing Decision.

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The SSA describes good cause for a late appeal in its regulations. The following are what a Security lawyer has provided as some circumstances the SSA will consider when evaluating whether a claimant had good cause:

Whether the claimant did not understand the deadline requirement.
Whether the SSA did something that misled the claimant.
Whether the claimant had any linguistic, educational, mental or physical limitations.

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An example of one of these circumstances would be if a person who does not speak or understand English was prevented from understanding or knowing about the deadline to file an appeal.

Legal Responsibility
According to a Social Security lawyer, if a claimant is prevented from filing a timely appeal by mental incapacity, and had no one with the legal responsibility to prosecute the claim on his or her behalf, the SSA will find that the person had good cause. This is true no matter how much time has passed since the previous administrative action was taken. The SSA must be provided with evidence that demonstrates that the claimant did not have the mental ability to understand how to file a request for review. If there is any reasonable doubt regarding the claimant’s ability to file an appeal, the case will be resolved in the claimant’s favor.

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