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I didn’t get my Social Security Disability denial letter so I missed the appeal deadline. What should I do?

By   /  March 3, 2016  /  22 Comments

Learn what to do when you miss an appeal deadline because you didn’t receive a Social Security Disability denial letter and see how a lawyer can help.

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Watch the Video: “I didn’t get my Social Security Disability denial letter so I missed the appeal deadline. What should I do?”

Appeal the Denial Immediately

If you discover that you were sent a Social Security Disability denial letter that you didn’t receive, you need to appeal very soon—within a day or two of finding out you were denied. Be sure to include a statement with your appeal that says that you didn’t get a denial letter and that describes when and how you found out about the denial. For example, you might have discovered that your claim was denied when you called the Social Security Administration to check on the status of your claim. Also, if you have not moved since you filed your claim or you reported the move, it would be good to mention those facts. See our article “I Was Denied Social Security Disability. What Can I Do?” for more information about Social Security disability appeals.

Strategize with a Social Security Lawyer

The next step would be to contact a Social Security attorney right away so that he or she can help make a case for having your appeal accepted. Another advantage of getting a lawyer involved is that if your appeal is rejected as a late filing, the attorney may be able to assist you in filing a new claim in such a manner that it will be accepted for a new disability determination and not denied as a duplicate claim. The attorney can also help you address the reasons for the Social Security disability denial so that your request for appeal, if accepted, or your new claim is successful. Our article “How Do Social Security Disability Attorneys Get Paid for Representing You in Your Disability Claim” may also be helpful.

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  • Published: 8 months ago on March 3, 2016
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  • Last Modified: March 4, 2016 @ 4:02 pm
  • Filed Under: Appeals


  1. Karen says:

    I was turned down three times for ssi n now I have more medical evidence from a psychiatrist determining I habe severe adhd n personality disorder nos I recieved a letter wanting me to come to local office and if I habe a payee bring them what does this mean??

  2. Helena says:

    I had a hearing in November I live in md and it’s been over 90 days and I have yet to hear anything how long does it take I’ve called ador office there just saying it’s still with the judge I read on line that it’s it’s over 60 days it means the alj denied your claim could this be my case and yes I do have a lawyer but I haven’t talked to him since the hearing he will not return any of my calls so I’m at wits end

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Helena,

      Sixty days is the guideline for judges to make a decision, but it is not uncommon for it to take longer. The fact that the decision has not been rendered is not a sign or either approval or denial. Unfortunately, all you can do is wait and call back every three weeks to see if your appeal has moved along at all.


  3. Deborah says:

    I filed a appeal for my son I called December 14 they said a decision was made and letter was in mail to call them the 23rd if I didn’t get anything by then so I called the 23 they said wait tell next week should the letter have came by now or could be a issue because holidays should I call or wait a day or two to see if I receive mail from them

  4. Jazz says:

    My son has been receiving ssi for 3 years now he recently was up for a review and was denied I appealed his case and during the appeal I sighned the papers to continue payments well social security never paid November 2015 check he got his Decembers payment and a letter stated that he’s owed November payments and a back payment is owed it shows he will be getting a payment in January is it possible that he will get November 2015 check and a back payment under 2,000 before the new year ? He also had a installment last year December 2014

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Jazz,

      It is possible that he will receive the November benefit in December. If he does not, follow up with the local office.


      • Jazz says:

        Thanks for writing back What about his ssi installment that’s due is it possible he could receive a installment check during appeals ?

        • Kay Derochie says:

          Dear Jazz,

          The money is due for a period before the current issue so the installment payments should be made.


  5. I was turned down by the social security disability , i went to a lawyer to file for appeal within the 60 day time frame ,, we brought in tons of medical records ect We did this because the first lawyer had not gotten all of medical records , I went before a Judge and she and the person who says you cannot go back to any job you did in the past 10 years , the judge put may case on a fast track ,, her own words, later she said my medical records were murky and she turned me down ,, I fired this first lawyer for not doing his job since I had called his office asking if he needed anything always was told noo ,,, So I hired a new lawyer and got my appeal filed with in the 60 days a year and half had gone by and i could never get any answers on how my appeal was going I was told not to worry it usually took 18 months to hear a thing so i got in touch with a few congressman that i knew and they looked into my case ,, they came back and said there was no case at all ! I questioned the lawyer and she assured it was there ,, this went on for a few months she lied and told me she even called them to sheck and ot was there ,,long story but she finally told me a few weeks ago that it did not get filed blamed it on the appeals council ,, I have ask for proof it got there a 100 times ,,, now she says she is filing a affidavit stating she that she is trying to reopen my case if the appeals council lets her ! If i file again I cannot get ssd because I have not worked for 7 years , I was in a wreck , and I have PTSD , a among other things ,, so i cannot draw ,,, also if I file again i am newly married and was told I could not get it because he makes to much money !! She messed up now i cannot get my back pay or anything i needed the medical more than anything , i need care that we cannot afford like removing a cyst from my spine !! What can I do she lied and told me it was all good then said her office messed up and did not file ,, she did nit know this she said since August this year ,, am I screwed and what can I do about this, report her but them I am the one who suffers and its all her fault !! Please i need your help asap

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Denise,

      This is a bit of a long shot, but you might try refiling the request for Appeals Council Review yourself and include in the appeal the request that the review be accepted because you were not at fault in the late filing because you didn’t know that your attorney dropped the ball until you contacted your congressperson to get a status. A challenge regarding that is that the rules for appealing to the Appeals Council are very strict and you have to argue the appeal within those rules to even have them look at it, so you would need legal advice from a new attorney, and you may not want to fire the current one until she has a chance to try to straighten things out.

      Another possibility could be to file a new claim if you were still insured on the date after the judge’s denial decision. You could claim that date as your date of disability.

      Lastly, you may be able to get insurance under the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). The open enrollment period is going on now and continues through January 31. You can get more information at http://www.heathcare.gov.



  6. Rene says:

    Judge thought I had been drinking I don’t drink due to medicine I take and he got medical reports stating my meds make me drowssy and not alert, he denied my claim can he do that

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Rene,

      The judge can deny your claim if he thinks that the evidence does not show you are disabled. You can appeal; however, an application for an Appeals Council review has very specific rules, so I suggest that you contact an experienced Social Security attorney to review you claim to see if you have grounds for appeal. When you hire a Social Security attorney, you do not have to pay any legal fees up front and you will pay attorney fees only if you are approved for benefits. Social Security law sets the amount your attorney can charge and the Social Security Administration pays the attorney directly from the retroactive award before sending your back pay to you.


  7. Lynn says:

    I was denied on appeal and never received a denial letter. Time has run out and my lawyer has denied receiving the denial letters also. He is attempting to obtain a hearing for me, but if he is not successful, what is my next step? The fact that I have a lawyer upsets me because he should have been on top of my case. I submitted all the information to Florida State Department of Health and contacted them for updates. That is how I found out about the denial. My lawyer is considered one of the better lawyers by Social Security and it seems as if he passed the buck. Is this malpractice?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Lynn,

      I cannot give you legal advice. I can say that all an attorney can do once everything has been submitted is wait for a decision the same as you. It appears that the attorney is now taking the appropriate action by filing for a hearing outside the appeals period on the basis that neither of you received a denial letter. If his request is denied, he can advise you on your next step.


  8. Jessica says:

    I have a son who turned 18 on 3/8/14. All his life he has had severe (to the point where teachers consistently were out of ideas to help him) ADD. When he was about 8 I applied for Social Security for him. I was denied. The problem is that at the time I was going through chemotherapy for stage 4 Ovarian Cancer and had a lot of confusion and memory loss etc. Since then I’ve developed more and more issues mentally and I believe I can get social security and am currently applying myself.

    The benefits would have paid for supplemental therapy/education for him. I passionately believe that had we been approved those years ago, he would not be struggling to function as an adult now. We are now seeking therapy for depression (possibly bi-polar disorder but due to state insurance it’s difficult to find care).

    When I applied 10 years ago it was a written application. I didn’t have access to the internet and I didn’t even have a phone or car at that time. I was living in the country. I did all the testing they required and handed in IEP’s yet he was denied.

    Based on what I’ve told you about our situation is it possible for us to argue our case for back-pay? My son deserved to be approved and I was naive and mentally unstable myself! Any suggestions? It just seems unfair to not receive what we could have because of the very condition we are applying for!!

    Hypothetically, if they SHOULD have approved him-do we really lose what he was entitled to because of a deadline? After all, SS made the mistake PRIOR to me missing the deadline. Does that make sense?

    I apologize that this is so long but I wanted to explain our situation. We’ve been on medicare and foodstamps most of my sons life. I’m a single mom and have 2 other sons both with ADD. Please help

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Jessica,

      Your son can apply for SSI as an adult. If he is approved, his benefits most likely will be based on his current application. There are some provisions for allowing an appeal if the appeal deadline is missed due to incapacity at the time, but it is unlikely that the Administation would allow an appeal that was ten years late.



  9. Kevin says:

    Any one and I mean anyone can look at My disability letter or denial and see how paragraph after paragraph it contradicts and negates itself and see beyond any doubt I truly do have severe severe anxiety overwhelming depression to the point where I cannot function at all whatsoever ADD and and extremely difficult time obtaining mail just to scratch the surface. The appeals process had drawn out to the federal level which I was more than ready to appeal and my lawyer or lack of lawyer clearly and admittedly did not do their job and seeing that everything merged together to fit within the framework of the time allotted. My disability impedes my memory more and more every day my condition has worsened since I filed this claim initially two years ago maybe three I don’t know. I am absolutely disgusted and at my wits end and on the verge of snapping with this whole ordeal that has been nothing but a nightmare. My lawyer is totally incompetent the denial form is an obvious sham towards me and not having a place to stay on top of my lawyer getting shitty with me if I contact them and they don’t contact me or keep me informed on what’s going on I feel is a reason above all reasons to allow the Federal appeal process to continue in my case. I am surprised I was able to get that out. I really driving around pushing myself so I’m assuming K be great if you got back to me I’m going to contact the Social Security office myself in Lou of my lack of lawyerism. I am extremely overwhelmed right now even thinking about it that not of anxiety and my chest just clenches tighter and tighter. I hope this helps me as well as someone else thank you

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Kevin,

      I am posting your comment, but I do not see a question in it. If you have a question, please let me know.



  10. Confused2014 says:


    I pulled this from the SSA POMS website:

    ‘5. Extension of time to request AC review

    Only the AC has the authority to extend the time for filing a request for AC review. A claimant may file a request for an extension at the locations listed in SI 04040.020B.6. of this section.

    You must complete the following actions if a claimant files a request for AC review after the 60-day period.

    Obtain a written statement that explains the claimant’s reason for late filing of the appeal. The claimant can add a good cause statement to an appeal request, such as the HA-520-U5, or submit as a separate written statement.

    Attach the statement, and any field office (FO) documentation concerning the delay, to the AC copy of the Form HA-520-U5.
    Advise the claimant that the AC will decide whether good cause exists to extend the time for filing a request for review.”

    4. Timeliness of request for AC review – number 8 and 9

    Check the appropriate block to indicate whether we received the request for AC review within 65 days of the ALJ’s decision or dismissal. In concurrent claims (title II and title XVI), check “yes” only if the request on both claims is timely. Check “no” when the request on one or both claims is not timely, and specify which one(s) is not.

    If you check “no,” obtain a statement that explains that claimant’s reason for late filing and develop for good cause. The claimant can add a good cause statement to the appeal request, such as the HA-520-U5, or submit as a separate written statement. The statement should include the following information:

    claimant’s name and address, and
    reason for the delay

    Forward the statement and any development along with claim’s folder copy of the Form HA-520-U5 to the AC. The AC will determine whether the request is timely and whether the claimant has good cause.

    ****What are your thoughts Kay? No way I was in any conditions during the homeless and the severe mental issues I was facing at the time. I have documentation that 3 physicians wanted to place me in long term in patient mental facilities. 3/27/14

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