How Long Do I Have to Appeal a Denial of My Initial Social Security Disability Application?

Many individuals are denied benefits at the initial application stage and must appeal this decision to pursue their benefits through the Reconsideration or Hearings process.  You have 60 days to appeal an adverse decision from the time of your receipt of the denial letter.   Generally, SSA will presume that you received the notice within 5 days of mailing – meaning that any appeal noted more than 65 days past the date of the decision will be presumed untimely.

If you attempt to note your appeal more than 60 days from your receipt of the denial, SSA will ask that you establish good cause for the delay.

In determining whether you have good cause for missing an appeal  the SSA may consider:

(1) What circumstances kept you from making the request on time;

(2) Whether an SSA action misled you;

(3) Whether you did not understand the requirements of the law resulting from amendments to the law, other legislation, or court decisions; and

(4) Whether you had any physical, mental, educational, or linguistic limitations (including any lack of facility with the English language) which prevented you from filing a timely request or from understanding or knowing about the need to file a timely request for review.

Examples of circumstances where good cause may exist include, but are not limited to, the following situations:

(1) You were seriously ill and were prevented from contacting SSA in person, in writing, or through a friend, relative, or other person;

(2) There was a death or serious illness in your immediate family;

(3) Important records were destroyed or damaged by fire or other accidental cause;

(4) You were trying very hard to find necessary information to support your claim but did not find the information within the stated time periods;

(5) You asked SSA for additional information explaining our action within the time limit, and within 60 days of receiving the explanation you requested reconsideration or a hearing, or within 30 days of receiving the explanation you requested Appeal Council review or filed a civil suit;

(6) SSA gave you incorrect or incomplete information about when and how to request administrative review or to file a civil suit;

(7) You did not receive notice of the determination or decision;

(8) You sent the request to another Government agency in good faith within the time limit and the request did not reach SSA until after the time period had expired; and

(9) Unusual or unavoidable circumstances exist, which show that you could not have known of the need to file timely, or which prevented you from filing timely.