SSA logo: link to Social Security Online home2015. Extension of Time for Filing

2015.1 Can an extension be granted for filing a request?

Yes, an extension of time may be granted for filing a request for reconsideration, hearing, Appeals Council review, the expedited appeals process, or to bring suit in a Federal district court.

2015.2 What is the procedure for requesting an extension?

You must request an extension of time in writing and/or establish good cause for failing to file the request within the specified time limit.

2015.3 Who makes the decision about granting an extension?

The decision about granting extension of time is made by the field office, the ALJ, or the Appeals Council, depending on who has jurisdiction.

2015.4 Who makes the decision about granting an extension for filing a civil action in a Federal district court?

The Appeals Council may grant an extension of time for filing a civil action in a Federal district court and decide whether good cause exists for failure to file within the appropriate time.

2015.5 What does SSA consider in deciding whether an individual had good cause for missing a deadline?

In determining whether you had good cause for missing a deadline to request review, we consider:

  1. What circumstances kept you from making the request on time;

  2. Whether our action misled you;

  3. Whether you did not understand the requirements of the Social Security Act, resulting from amendments, other legislation, or court decisions; and

  4. Whether you had any physical, mental, educational, or linguistic limitations (including any lack of facility with the English language) that prevented you from filing a timely request or from understanding or knowing about the need to file a timely request for review.

2015.6 What are examples of good cause?

Examples of circumstances where good cause may exist include, but are not limited to, the following situations:

  1. You were seriously ill and were prevented from contacting us in person, by phone, in writing, or through a friend, relative, or other person;

  2. There was a death or serious illness in your immediate family;

  3. Important records were destroyed or damaged by fire or other accidental cause;

  4. You were making serious efforts to find necessary information to support the claim but had not been able to obtain it within the stated time periods;

  5. You requested additional information from us explaining this action within the time limit. Within 60 days of receiving the explanation you requested reconsideration or a hearing, or within 30 days of receiving the explanation requested Appeals Council review or filed a civil suit;

  6. We gave you misleading, incorrect or incomplete information about when and how to request administrative review or to file a civil suit;

  7. You did not receive notice of the determination or decision;

  8. You sent the request to another Government agency in good faith within the time limit and the request did not reach us until after the time period had expired; or

  9. Unusual or unavoidable circumstances exist, including the circumstances described in paragraph 2015.5 of this section, which show that you could not have known of the need to file timely, or which prevented you from filing timely.

Last Revised: Nov. 30, 2010