People in California who have applied for Social Security Disability benefits and been denied typically have 60 days from the date of their decision notice to file an appeal. While the appeal period is 60 days, the Social Security Administration adds an extra five days to allow for the decision notice to be mailed, giving applicants have a total of 65 days to make sure that their appeal is filed with their local SSA office.

There are situations in which applicants may be allowed to submit an appeal beyond the customary appeal period. This includes cases in which the applicants have a bona fide reason for being late. When applicants submit their appeal late, they should include a good cause statement that explains why they were unable to file their appeal timely. Some good cause reasons that may be acceptable include situations in which a catastrophic event resulted in the damage of an applicant’s relevant papers and records. Being admitted to a hospital or having an immediate family member die are acceptable reasons.

For candidates who have appeals that address issues that have to be heard before an administrative law judge, their good cause statements will be evaluated by that judge. If the appeal does not pertain to an issue that has to be addressed in front of an administrative law judge, the good cause statement will be evaluated by a Social Security claims representative.

An attorney who practices Social Security law may assist clients through the application and appeals processes for SSD benefits. The federal regulations regarding the benefits may be explained, and assistance may be provided with obtaining the necessary verification regarding a client’s inability to work. The attorney might advocate on behalf of clients regarding issues that have to heard in front of an administrative law judge.