After an initial application for Social Security Disability benefits, a claimant is afforded 60 days to file a written appeal, for either a “Reconsideration” of the original claim or a “Request for Hearing before an Administrative Law Judge.” Unfortunately, there are many claimants, largely due to psychiatric or other disabilities, who miss the 60 day deadline and are often forced to re-apply for benefits from “square one.”
A relatively new ruling, Social Security Ruling 91-5P, can extend the deadline to appeal based on a “good cause.” This means that the Social Security Administration will not automatically dismiss the appeal and that proper consideration will be given to a claimant who presents evidence that mental disability, may have prevented the claimant from understanding the 60 day deadline to obtain review.
The Social Security Administration is to consider the following factors, in determining whether “good cause” exists for an untimely appeal beyond the 60 day deadline:
* Inability to read or write * Lack of facility with the English language * Limited education * Any mental or physical condition which limits the claimant’s ability to perform activities of daily living.
According to the rule, all doubts are to be resolved in favor of the claimant. Thus, the rule is to be interpreted and implemented in a liberal and caring manner.