Thank you to attorney Sarah Dubinsky, for sharing great ideas and critical information to make this page possible.
Update: Rules may become more flexible during coronavirus times. Stay tuned for developments. Here are the previous rules:
Most Social Security deadlines are not postmark deadlines. The deadline is the date when the document must be received in their hands. If you’ve missed a deadline there may still be a few options:
Less Than Five Days
Social Security allows an extra five days for the mail, so if you are still within 5 days of the deadline, you can try to hand-deliver your document to your local office. Request a stamped receipt.
🌷 Note: The five day rule only applies if you are responding to a denial or notice in the mail. If you are responding to something you were handed at your local office, you don’t get the extra days.
More Than Five Days
If you completely missed the deadline, you can still submit your documents, if you let them know the reason you missed it. This is called “good cause.”
🌷 Submit your documents along with a statement “I request to be considered for late filing for good cause.” Then say what your good cause is.
🌷 Although not required, it is helpful if you can also enclose any documentation of your good cause. For example, if you were in the hospital, you might attach a copy of a hospital record. Or if your disability impairs your memory and ability to follow directions, you can submit a doctor’s letter confirming this.
🌷 If you want Social Security to consider a document, enclose a copy with your request. Never assume that the person reviewing your request will find information or documents for you. Always enclose a physical copy right in the same envelop.
🌷 Here’s the Social Security policy on good cause. It may be helpful if you also print and enclose the policy.
🌷 You don’t have to use a special form for your statement, but if you want one, here’s where you can find one: Statement from Claimant
🌷 There is no guarantee that Social Security will accept your good cause, but it cannot hurt to try!
🌷 If your request is denied, you have the right to appeal.
Try Again: Reopen Your Case
If the deadline you missed was for appealing a disability application, you have one more option.
You can file a new application, and request that your old application be “reopened.” This means they would mix your old and new applications together so you won’t lose backpay and your old medical records will still be considered. How to Reopen an Earlier Claim
Help from Congressperson
Your Congressperson’s office may be able to help make sure your request is considered and given a fair chance. They cannot influence the outcome, but they can help make sure your request is read and given fair consideration.
Congressperson can also be very helpful in correcting mistakes made by Social Security. If the deadline was missed because of an administrative mistake made by Social Security, be sure to mention this. How To Get Help from Your Congressperson
What Do You Think?
Updated July 2018. Please comment below with stories, ideas, questions or suggestions. Please let us know if any links on this page stop working.
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