Bad news always seems to come in waves. You lost your mother to cancer in the same month that you left work due to an injury. Not long after that, your Social Security disability benefits were denied. You didn’t have time to appeal the decision while you were grieving, and now you find out that you missed the deadline anyway. Isn’t there any way you could get the help you need without starting all over again?

Valid Reasons for Filing a Social Security Appeal After the Deadline

The good news is that Social Security must respond to your appeal no matter how late you have sent it in. The bad news is that Social Security will only accept late appeals where the claimant had “good cause” to miss the deadline. If you cannot provide an adequate reason why you were unable to make the deadline, your appeal will likely be denied.

Following are a few situations that Social Security considers “good cause” for a late disability appeal:

  • Serious illness. If you were sick, unconscious, or hospitalized for a long period during the deadline and were unable to contact Social Security (or asked someone else to do it for you), you may still be able to file your appeal.
  • Family emergency. You can file your appeal late if there was a death, tragic accident, or serious illness in your immediate family.
  • Loss of evidence. In some cases, people cannot appeal their cases because vital information has been destroyed. You will need to provide evidence that documents were lost due to fire, flood, or other circumstances beyond your control.
  • Lack of information. You may have missed the deadline because you were waiting for additional information and failed to ask for an extension, or you were given conflicting or confusing information from Social Security or another agency.
  • Pending inquiry. If you or your attorney requested more information about the denial from Social Security before the appeal deadline passed, you should be granted an additional 60 days to appeal from the day you receive the response.
  • Lack of notice. If you were never sent a denial notice—it was sent to the wrong address or lost in the mail—you must show proof that you were never notified.
  • Misdirected response. If you sent your appeal to the wrong office or address and it was never forwarded, you may still be able to appeal.
  • Personal difficulty. Some people may not be able to complete the appeals process due to mental instability, physical limitations, or other unavoidable circumstances.

Did something else prevent you from filing a timely appeal? Even if your reason is not on this list, Social Security may still find that you have good cause.

How Do I Get Started?

All late appeal requests must be submitted in writing. You will need to complete a Statement of Claimant form requesting good cause for a late appeal and explain your reason for late filing on a separate sheet of paper. You must then submit both documents to your local Social Security office. Do you need assistance with your appeal? Find out how we can help by emailing us at [email protected] or by filling out our online contact form.


Timothy J. Cuddigan (Founder - Retired)
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Omaha Social Security and Veterans Disability Lawyer With Over 40 Years Experience