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What to do if a social security appeal is late

If a California resident has his or her social security disability (SSD) benefit claim denied, it may be possible for him or her to appeal that decision. An applicant has 60 days to appeal the decision plus five days for mailing it in. However, there are valid reasons why an appeal may be sent in after that deadline passes. For instance, it may be acceptable to do so if necessary records were destroyed in a natural disaster or if there was a death in the family.

It may also be possible for someone to turn in an application late if it was impossible for him or her to find necessary information in the 65-day period. While the social security administration (SSA) may accept late appeals at the hearing level, most administrative law judges will not accept late applications. This may be true whether there is good cause to do so. In many situations, the case will simply be dismissed at that level.

Individuals who feel that they cannot send their appeal to a field office in time may seek help from a representative. This person may be an attorney or anyone else who can work on an applicant's behalf. Doing so may be ideal for those who have a physical or mental handicap that makes communicating difficult.

Individuals who are denied social security benefits may wish to appeal the decision. It may be a good idea for them to talk with an attorney about what the appeal entails and how to get it sent out in a timely manner. By appealing within the 65-day window, it increases the possibility that the case will be heard. A lawyer may be able to obtain and organize medical records and other evidence of a disability for an applicant. This may increase the chances of a favorable outcome.

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