How long do I have to appeal my Social Security disability denial?

If your Social Security disability case has been denied. You need to know how long you have to file your appeal. You only have so much time before your deadline.

If you miss that window of opportunity, you may be back to square one.

So, here is how to make sure you get your appeal in on time!

Check your denial

The best tip I can offer if your case is denied is to check the paperwork. While there are several common deadlines, if you do not definitely know how long Social Security gives you to appeal, you may be using the wrong deadline.

The paperwork you are looking for is typically a denial. However, it may also be called a “decision,” “notice of disapproved claim,” “notice of proposed action,” or something else. The thing to keep in mind is that whenever Social Security decides something on your case, they will also tell you the following:

  1. The appeal options. What you can do if you disagree with the action or decision.
  2. The appeal process. What forms you need to fill out, where to get them, where to turn them in, or the website to go to appeal.
  3. How long you have to file the appeal.

If you have lost your Social Security denial?

If you no longer have your Social Security paperwork, give your local Social Security office a call. You can also call the toll-free Social Security number at 1-800-772-1213.

Social Security should always be able to tell you the most recent decision (or action on your case) and any applicable deadlines.

Lets get down to brass tacks. Here are the most common Social Security deadlines:

65 days to appeal a Social Security denial

In most Social Security cases, you have 65 days to appeal a denial or decision. Again, there is no guarantee of 65 days; this is just the most common time limit.

Hold on, isn’t it 60 days?

Yes and no. Social Security typically gives you 60 days to file an appeal. However the 60 days normally do not start until 5 days after the date on the decision. Those 5 days are the mailing time Social Security assumes it will take to get the denial to you.

So, effectively, you have 65 days from the date on the decision to appeal.

In theory, if it took longer than 5 days to get the decision to you, you might have an extra couple of days beyond that. However, if you file the appeal more than 65 days after the date on the denial, Social Security will assume that it is a late appeal and you will have to explain the late filing. Can you prove it took longer than 5 days to get the denial?

Note: if the denial is sitting for several days in a mailbox or PO Box because you have not picked it up, this will not normally extend the deadline.

Deadline to what?

I mailed the appeal on the 65th day. I even got confirmation from the post office. I’m good, right?

Probably not. Appeals are not taxes. Getting a postmark by the last day does not stop the deadline clock.

You have to get the appeal into Social Security’s hands on or before the deadline. If you are close to the deadline, that may mean overnighting the appeal, or walking it in.

What if the deadline falls on a weekend or holiday?

If the deadline falls on a weekend or national holiday, then the deadline is moved to the next business day.

However, don’t bet your case on it! I have seen too many cases where the appeal was properly filed on the next business day after a weekend deadline and in every single instance, Social Security treated it as a late appeal. This was able to be resolved with a letter explaining the circumstances. However, it put an extra hurdle in the way of proving the disability case.

If at all possible, get the appeal in early!


I want to remind you again, deadlines can change and the best source for finding the deadline in your case is to check your Social Security paperwork or contact Social Security directly.

Check out this article for more tips on dealing with Social Security deadlines.

  • Mia

    who is the best socal security lawyer for disabled veterans i was denied ssi benefits …. it was i complete shock bc i can not work and i have 3 kids and iam really going though it health wise and support wise . I really need help with the appeal and a great lawyer asap pls help!

  • http://www.ColoradoSocialSecurityLaw.com/ TomaszStasiuk

    “Best” is relative. Finding the right lawyer is largely about finding the lawyer that feels right and knows what they are doing.

    Individuals can choose a nation-wide firm, but consider Nate Craig's comments on this post: http://www.socialsecurityinsider.com/2008/10/na

    Here are some articles to look at:
    Good and bad questions when choosing a lawyer: http://www.socialsecurityinsider.com/2008/07/qu

    Questions to ask an attorney: http://www.socialsecurityinsider.com/2008/07/qu

    Could you pick your attorney out of a line up: http://www.socialsecurityinsider.com/2008/05/co

  • Donaldclapper15

    after being denied ssi how long do i have to appeal it

    • http://planet10tech.com/ TomaszStasiuk

      In my experience, the time limits are the same in SSI and DIB denials. Check the denial for specific information on your claim. 

      Good luck!

  • joetheinformed2

    I was denied SSD about 15 years ago, I have not worked since, but have receieved other compensation for my injuries over the years, can I appeal that decision? Probably not, but can I reopen my case to start over? I ask because years ago I received a letter from Social Security saying I was no longer eligible since I haven’t worked in the past ten years. Does anyone know?

  • BrandieMills

    So what happens if you get denied and then appeal it.. What happens next?