At The Forefront Of Disability And Elder Law

Understanding social security disability appeals and deadlines

On Behalf of | May 3, 2024 | Social Security Disability |

Navigating the complex process of Social Security Disability Insurance or Supplemental Security Income can be daunting, especially if one receives a denial for their initial application.

Understanding the deadlines for appealing this decision is important to maintaining eligibility and securing benefits.

The importance of timing

Once the Social Security Administration denies a disability claim, it sends a notice to the applicant, detailing why it denied the claim and how to appeal the decision. This notice also marks the start of a strict deadline: The applicant has only 60 days from the date of the denial notice to file an appeal. The SSA assumes receipt of the denial notice five days after the date on the notice unless there is evidence to prove otherwise. This tight timeframe underscores the importance of quick action following a denial.

Steps in the appeals process

The appeals process consists of several stages, each with its own specific deadline and set of requirements:

  • Reconsideration: This is the first stage where another reviewer will examine the entire claim afresh. It is the applicant’s chance to provide new evidence or information that might affect the decision.
  • Hearing by an administrative law judge: If reconsideration does not result in a favorable outcome, the applicant can request a hearing. At this stage, presenting the case in person or via video conference allows the judge to ask questions and interact with the claimant directly.
  • Review by the Appeals Council: If the judge still denies the claim, one can request a review by the Social Security Appeals Council. The Council might review the case itself or send it back to the administrative law judge for further review.

The final stage of the appeal involves filing a lawsuit in a federal district court. This step is significant as it moves the decision-making process outside of the SSA.

Why deadlines matter

Missing an appeals deadline typically means losing the chance to appeal the decision at all, possibly requiring the applicant to start the entire application process over. This reset not only extends the time before potentially receiving benefits but also might affect the back pay to which the applicant is entitled, based on their application date.

Navigating the appeals process effectively means paying close attention to deadlines and being proactive about gathering and submitting all necessary documentation and evidence.


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