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Applicants denied disability can appeal the decision

People in California afflicted by significant physical or mental problems often seek benefits through the Social Security Disability program. The federal agency frequently denies benefits to applicants, but an appeals process is in place. A rejected applicant has 60 days from the date of the denial notice to initiate an appeal. Technically, the agency allows an extra five days for mailing paperwork, which really makes the deadline 65 days.

Missing this deadline, however, does not always lock someone out of the appeals process. A statement explaining the reason for a delayed request for appeal might enable someone to gain a second look at an application as long as the reason qualifies as a good cause for missing the deadline. The statement must spell out in detail the circumstances that prevented a person from meeting the standard deadline.

A claims representative or administrative law judge will evaluate the acceptability of the good cause statement. An administrative law judge only views the statement if the appeal involves a disability hearing request. Claims representatives generally approve good causes more often than judges. Reasons that could exempt someone from the deadline include loss of records in a flood or fire, mental health problems, hospitalization or death of a close family member.

Because someone seeking benefits might be burdened by injury or disease, an attorney could help with the Social Security Disability application process. An attorney might succeed at accurately describing the claimant's disabling condition within the agency's coding system. Medical and vocational records supporting the application could be organized by an attorney and sent with the application.

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