How a Social Security Disability Appeal Works

The Social Security Agency (SSA) has four levels of administrative adjudication, namely:

  1. Initial determination;
  2. Reconsideration determination;
  3. Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) hearing; and
  4. Appeals Council review.

Once these administrative remedies are exhausted, the decision can be challenged in federal court.

Social Security disability appeals have a time limit of 60 days from the date of receipt of a decision. Due to a strong presumption that it takes five days to receive a decision after it is made, the default time limit is 65 days from the date printed on the decision. The only time this rule does not apply is when the Appeals Council reviews a case that was denied by an ALJ following a remand from a federal court. In such cases, one has 30 days in which to appeal the ALJ’s denial.

When an appeal deadline falls on a Saturday, Sunday, federal holiday, or any other day which is made a non-work day for federal employees, the deadline is extended to the next federal working day.

SSA considers an appeal to be filed on the day it is received by the agency, though an exception to this rule states that SSA will use the date a “request or notice is mailed to us by the U.S. mail, if using the date we receive it would result in the loss or lessening of rights. The date shown by a U.S. postmark will be used as the date of mailing. If the postmark is unreadable, or there is no postmark, we will consider other evidence of when you mailed it to us.”

In order to navigate the maze of administrative appeals and ensure the highest chance of success, you need an experienced Palm Springs disability lawyer on your side. Contact the law offices of Gilbert & Bourke, LLP today to schedule your free consultation.