When should I appeal a Social Security hearing decision?

On Behalf of | Sep 14, 2023 | Appeals

It is impossible to guarantee favorable results when seeking any Social Security benefit. Even if you have determined your eligibility for disability privileges, the outcome can still be unfavorable based on the Social Security hearing’s findings. If you disagree with the agency’s decision, you could file an appeal by requesting the Appeals Council to review your case.

Like other processes, appealing a hearing decision must follow specific deadlines to make the action valid. Missing these deadlines might invalidate your appeal, affecting your ability to seek a more favorable result. Typically, the time limit for filing a request is 60 days after you receive the hearing decision’s notice while considering the following circumstances:

  • The agency usually assumes the notice arrives five days after sending it, which is also when the 60-day count begins. If you receive the document later, you must provide proof of the delay.
  • Your chance of facing dismissal increases if you file the appeal after 60 days. Missing the deadline could impact your eligibility for further action or review.
  • You can file a valid appeal even after the 60 days if the delay is reasonable. The process might also include additional details explaining what caused the delay while requesting an extension on the deadline. Doing so can be more complex, requiring advice from a Social Security officer before drafting the written request.

Other factors can impact your appeal’s validity, depending on your situation. Also, the agency might only review the request if there is reason to believe the initial hearing decision was incorrect.

Preparation is key

Planning and preparation are crucial, especially when filing an appeal with Social Security’s Appeals Council. Aside from meeting deadlines, the submission might require attachments, including evidence or comments relevant to the requested review. Doing so might not remove the risk of denial, but helps the council make an appropriate assessment.