I-3-9-92.Requests for Extensions of Time to File Civil Action
Last Update: 5/1/17 (Transmittal I-3-151)
Under section 205(g) of the Social Security Act, the Commissioner may extend the amount of time provided to file a civil action. Per agency regulations, the request for an extension of time (EOT) to file a civil action must be in writing and must provide good cause for why the deadline was not (or cannot be) met. See 20 CFR 404.982 and 416.1482.
If a claimant or representative orally requests an EOT, Office of Appellate Operations (OAO) staff must inform the claimant or representative that he or she must submit the request in writing and must set forth a good cause reason for the request. OAO staff will then prepare a form SSA-5002, Report of Contact, to document the conversation and associate the form with the claim(s) file.
A claimant or representative must specifically request an EOT. The submission of additional evidence or general correspondence to the Appeals Council (AC) within or after the 60-day period to file a civil action does not constitute an EOT request. Rather, the AC will handle the additional information using the procedures in Hearings, Appeals and Litigation Law (HALLEX) manual I-3-5-50.
As explained below, approving an EOT requires evaluating good cause. Therefore, an AC member must always review and sign actions on EOT requests. See generally HALLEX I-3-9-90.
EOT requests must be processed as soon as possible after receipt. Processing EOT requests in a timely manner saves resources for both the agency and the claimant.
B. EOT Requests Submitted Before a Civil Action Is Filed
Generally, a Court Case Preparation and Review Branch (CCPRB) handles requests for an EOT to file a civil action, unless the claimant or appointed representative submits an EOT request with another request that requires action by a Disability Program Branch (DPB) or there is another action required by the DPB in association with the EOT request.
If the claimant or appointed representative does not provide a good cause reason for requesting an EOT, the AC will deny the request. In evaluating whether there is a good cause reason, the AC uses the good cause standards in 20 CFR 404.911 and 416.1411.
Any delay in the AC's response to an EOT request is not a factor the AC considers in determining whether good cause exists for not filing a civil action within the stated time.
When an EOT is granted, the AC will generally provide up to 30 days from the date of the notice granting the EOT (or, if more appropriate, up to 30 days from the date of the civil action filing deadline) to file a civil action. However, the AC may grant more or less time depending on the circumstances of the individual case.
When the AC denies the request for an EOT, the AC will include in the notice a sufficient rationale explaining its finding that there is not a good cause reason to extend the time to file a civil action.
C. EOT Requests Filed After a Civil Action Is Filed
When an EOT is not submitted or received until after the claimant has filed a civil action, the EOT will be handled by a CCPRB using the instructions in B above.