The Social Security Administration’s initial determination of whether you qualify for Social Security disability benefits is not the final word on the subject. In fact, there are four distinct levels where Social Security can evaluate your claim:
(1) The initial determination
(2) Reconsideration determination
(3) A hearing before an administrative law judge (ALJ)
(4) Review by the Appeals Council.
After review by the Appeals Council, there is yet another channel for review: filing the case in federal court.
Keep in mind that you must file your appeal by a certain deadline: for all but one of the levels, there is a 60-day time frame, starting from the date you receive the decision letter. There is a strong presumption that you will receive the decision letter within 5 days of the date on the letter, so unless you prove otherwise, you will essentially have 65 days from the date of the decision letter to file your appeal.
However, there is one exception to the 65-day filing period rule: if you’re appealing an ALJ denial to the Appeals Council after the federal court has remanded the case, you will only have 30 days to appeal.
When the deadline for requesting the next level of appeal falls on a weekend, federal holiday, or any other day that’s completely or partly a non-workday for federal employees under a statute or Executive Order, the filing period is extended to the next full workday.
The Social Security Administration will consider the appeal to be filed on the day that it receives it. However, Social Security will use the U.S. postmark date if using the date of receipt will result in the decrease or loss of your rights. In cases where the postmark is unreadable or nonexistent, the Social Security Administration will consider any evidence that you provide.
If you’ve been denied Social Security benefits, having an experienced Ocala disability lawyer help you with your appeal can greatly increase your chances of success. Contact dedicated Ocala disability lawyer Claudeth Henry for a free initial consultation today.