Good Cause for Late Appeals

Social Security Attorneys Helping Applicants throughout Massachusetts

If you have recently applied for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), you know that the process can be long and difficult. For many SSDI claimants, despite their best efforts, the initial application for benefits may be denied. This means that further work, through an appeal, will be necessary. But what if life, or your medical condition, gets in the way and prevents you from appealing on time? Thankfully, the Social Security Administration provides that, when there is “good cause,” an applicant can file a late appeal to address an initial denial of SSDI benefits. At Kantrovitz & Associates, P.C., our Social Security lawyers can help Massachusetts residents file late appeals for reconsideration of their applications.

Showing Good Cause for a Late Appeal

If an applicant receives an initial denial of his or her SSDI application, as many people do, he or she has only 60 days to final a timely appeal with the SSA. This can often come as a surprise to applicants who have endured the long and drawn-out process of applying for SSDI benefits and are suddenly faced with an urgent deadline. If an appeal is not filed within this 60-day period, an applicant is technically foreclosed from pursuing reconsideration of his or her initial application and must start the entire process over again. However, in certain circumstances, a late appeal of an SSDI decision will be considered when an applicant demonstrates “good cause.”

“Good cause” is a vague concept that is largely up to the discretion of the SSA. Good cause is evaluated by looking at all of the circumstances and factors leading to an applicant’s late appeal. The SSA will give special consideration to any medical or mental conditions that may have affected your ability to appeal on time, as well as any language limitations that you may have. Good cause may also be established by showing that the SSA or a related agency somehow misled you about the appeals process, which resulted in your missing a deadline. Finally, good cause may also be established through unusual or unique circumstances like a death in the family, another type of emergency, or a recent move that resulted in your failure to receive a denial notice. For instance, if you were suffering from serious medical complications as a result of your disability at the time that your appeal was due, the SSA may grant you an extension on this basis. Or if you mistakenly sent your appeal to the wrong agency or office because you were given incorrect information about appealing, this may also be grounds for a late appeal.

If you cannot file your appeal before your deadline, there are two important steps that you can take to help increase the likelihood that your late appeal will be accepted. First, if you know that you will not be able to meet the deadline before it arrives, you should contact the SSA in advance to request an extension of your appeal deadline. In your request, you should provide a detailed explanation for why an extension is necessary and offer any documentation you may have to support this explanation. Similarly, if the deadline has already passed, and you need to file a late appeal, you should immediately contact the SSA to request a late appeal and provide extensive documentation to support your request, such as medical records or signed statements from other individuals to support a claim of emergency or difficult circumstances.

Enlist a Massachusetts Lawyer for Your Government Benefits Claim

At Kantrovitz & Associates, P.C., our SSDI attorneys can assist individuals throughout Massachusetts with explaining an emergency or unique circumstances to the SSA. Whether you are seeking an extension in advance of an appeal deadline or are concerned that you have already missed your deadline, we can assist you in preparing a request for a late appeal. Our Boston office also serves people in New Hampshire and Rhode Island, as well as Middlesex, Norfolk, Essex, Plymouth, and Suffolk Counties. Contact us at (800) 367-0871 or online to set up a free consultation.