posted on February 22, 2018
The most important rule for claimants in Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits cases is to never give up. If the Social Security Administration (SSA) denies your claim – and that often occurs – then you will have 60 days from that denial date to file a request for reconsideration, which is the first stage in the appeals process in Virginia. You should not give up or risk missing that important deadline.
You also should refuse to give up if you miss the appeals deadline. You may be able to continue your case and still pursue an appeal if you can show “good cause” for missing the deadline. Typically, you would file a request for reconsideration with your local SSA field office and include a written statement explaining why you filed your appeal notice late.
As you decide whether you should pursue your appeal despite missing the 60-day deadline, you should consider how the SSA defines “good cause” in this situation. As the SSA explains, circumstances that meet this definition include:
According to the SSA website, some common examples of good cause for failing to meet an appeal deadline are:
Again, if you file a “good cause” statement with the SSA, you must make sure to explain why the particular circumstances caused you to miss the deadline for filing your request for reconsideration. In other words, you cannot assume anything. You need to connect the dots for the SSA.
If the SSA finds good cause, then the SSA will go forward with processing your request for reconsideration. However, if the SSA does not find good cause, the SSA will dismiss your appeal. At that point, your only option would be to re-file your application.
Should you need to file a new application for SSD benefits because you missed the appeal deadline, the silver lining will be the fact that the SSA will use the date of your written request for reconsideration as a “protective filing date.” This date will be important down the road as you pursue the disability benefits that you believe you are due.
If the SSA denies your claim for SSD benefits and you miss the appeal deadline, the biggest mistake you can make is to do nothing. You should allow an experienced Virginia disability benefits lawyer to review your case, including your application, and help you explore all of your options.
To learn more, contact Marks & Harrison today. We can provide a free consultation through our office in Richmond or through our eight other offices located throughout the state.
Joanna L. Suyes focuses her practice on Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) claims at Marks & Harrison. She belongs to the National Organization of Social Security Claimants’ Representatives (NOSSCR) as well as the Social Security Sections of the Virginia Trial Lawyers Association and the American Association for Justice. A native of Chesterfield County, Joanna earned her undergraduate degree from the College of William & Mary and her Master of Divinity degree from the Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond. She went on to earn her law degree from the University of Richmond School of Law, graduating cum laude. She is a member of several legal organizations who served as President of the Metro Richmond Women’s Bar Association in 2018.