If you miss an appeal deadline, you generally have two options.  One option is to start all over again by filing another application for benefits.  However, electing this option will certainly delay your case and very likely could result in the loss of potential benefits.  The other option is to go ahead and file the late appeal and include a “good cause” statement.   A “good cause” statement is a writing in which you explain the reasons why your appeal was late.  What constitutes “good cause” could be almost any valid reason.  Examples of good cause include:

  • You did not receive the denial letter;
  • You were seriously ill and were prevented from contacting SSA;
  • There was a death or serious illness in your family;
  • You did not understand the requirement to file the appeal timely due to physical, mental, educational or linguistic limitations (including a lack of ability to speak English);
  • An SSA employee gave you incorrect or confusing information about when and how to appeal;
  • Important records were destroyed by fire or other accidental cause;
  • You were trying very hard to obtain information (evidence) to support your claim but did not find the information within the stated time period;
  • You sent the appeal to the wrong governmental agency;

Generally, the later you are, the less likely it is that SSA will find “good cause.”  Thus, if you discover that you missed your appeal deadline, and you wish to file a late appeal, you must do so immediately.

Social Security Disability Topics

The Social Security Disability Process

Types of Social Security Disability Benefits

How Social Security Determines if You Are Disabled

Improving Your Chances of Winning

Do I really need to get an attorney?

Your Hearing Before An Administrative Law Judge (ALJ)

Appealing a Denial of Benefits