EFFECTIVE/PUBLICATION DATE: 04/26/95
SSR 95-1p: POLICY INTERPRETATION RULING
TITLE II and TITLE XVI:
FINDING GOOD CAUSE FOR MISSING THE DEADLINE TO REQUEST ADMINISTRATIVE
REVIEW DUE TO STATEMENTS IN THE NOTICE OF INITIAL OR RECONSIDERATION
DETERMINATION CONCERNING THE RIGHT TO REQUEST ADMINISTRATIVE REVIEW AND
THE OPTION TO FILE A NEW APPLICATION
PURPOSE: To reflect the Social Security Administration's (SSA) policy on establishing good cause for late filing of a request for administrative review as it applies to a claimant who received an initial or reconsideration determination notice dated prior to July 1, 1991, which did not state that filing a new application instead of a request for administrative review could result in the loss of benefits.
CITATIONS (AUTHORITY): Sections 205(b) and 1631(c)(1) of the Social Security Act (the Act); Regulations No. 4, sections 404.903(j), 404.909, 404.911, 404.933, 404.957(c)(3); and Regulations No. 16, sections 416.1403(a)(8), 416.1409, 416.1411, 416.1433, 416.1457(c)(3).
PERTINENT HISTORY: Our rules in 20 CFR sections 404.909(a), 404.933(b), 416.1409(a), and 416.1433(b) provide that a request for reconsideration and a request for hearing before an administrative law judge (ALJ) must be filed within 60 days after the date of receipt by the claimant of the notice of the determination being appealed. However, the regulations also provide that a claimant can request that the 60-day time period for filing a request for review be extended if the claimant can show good cause for missing the deadline. The request for an extension of time must be in writing and must give the reason why the request for review was not filed timely.
When the claimant fails to timely request reconsideration or an ALJ hearing, the Agency applies the criteria in section 404.911 or section 416.1411, as appropriate, in determining whether good cause for missing the deadline exists.
Section 404.911(a) states:
- In determining whether you have shown that 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 Act resulting from amendments to the Act, 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) which prevented you from filing a timely request or from understanding or knowing about the need to file a timely request for review.
Section 416.1411(a) sets out essentially the same criteria.
If the Agency determines that good cause for the claimant missing the deadline to request review exists, we process the request for review in accordance with established procedures and the prior administrative action is not final or binding for purposes of applying the rules on either res judicata or administrative finality.
Many SSA initial and reconsideration determination notices denying claims for Social Security benefits based on disability issued from September 1, 1977, through February 28, 1990, stated that, if the claimant did not seek administrative review within the 60-day time period, he or she still had the right to file another application at any time. The notices did not further state that filing a new application instead of a request for administrative review could result in the loss of benefits. Some claimants have alleged that they have failed to file a timely request for administrative review as a result of these notices.
In 1984, SSA began making revisions to its notices to explain more clearly the difference between seeking administrative review and filing a new application. Language was added to the initial determination notice stating that a new application is not the same as an appeal of the determination. In 1989 SSA began adding this language to the reconsideration determination notice along with an explanation on both notices to specifically advise the claimant that failing to seek administrative review could result in a loss of benefits. SSA completed implementation of this revision to the notices in February 1990.
SSA has further revised its notices as a result of section 5107 of the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1990, Pub. L. 101- 508. This section amended the Act to provide that a failure to timely request administrative review of an initial or reconsideration determination made on or after July 1, 1991, may not be used to deny or dismiss a subsequent claim for benefits on the basis of res judicata if the claimant demonstrates that he or she failed to request administrative review of the determination acting in good faith reliance upon incorrect, incomplete or misleading information, relating to the consequences of reapplying for benefits in lieu of seeking review of the determination and the information was provided by an officer or employee of SSA or a State agency making disability determinations under section 221 of the Act.
POLICY INTERPRETATION: SSA will make a finding of good cause for late filing of a request for administrative review for a title II, title XVI, or concurrent title II/title XVI claim if a claimant received a notice covered by this Ruling and demonstrates that, as a result of the notice, he or she did not timely request such review. The mere receipt of a notice covered by this Ruling will not, by itself, establish good cause.
A. Notices Covered By This Ruling
A notice is covered by this Ruling if it advised the claimant that if he or she did not request administrative review, he or she still had the right to file a new application at any time without further explaining that filing a new application instead of a request for administrative review could result in the loss of benefits. The following are notices covered by this Ruling, if the notice did not state that filing a new application instead of a request for review could result in the loss of benefits.
- 1. Initial Determination Notice Containing The Following Sentence:
- "If you do not request reconsideration of your case within the prescribed time period, you still have the right to file another application at any time."
- 2. Reconsideration Determination Notice Containing The Following Sentence:
- "If you do not request a hearing of your case within the prescribed time period, you still have the right to file another application at any time."
- A notice described above is not excluded from the Ruling simply because it contained the following additional sentence:
- "A new application is not the same as an appeal of this determination."
- However, the fact that a notice contained this additional statement is a factor to be considered along with all of the pertinent facts in each case in determining whether good cause for failure to file a timely request for administrative review exists. The presence of this additional statement will make it more difficult for a claimant to show that he or she did not make a timely request for administrative review as a result of the notice. In making the good cause determination when the notice contained this additional statement, the adjudicator may consider whether the claimant should reasonably have been expected to make additional inquiries, whether such inquiries were made, and the results thereof.
B. Proof of Receipt of a Notice Covered By This Ruling
Absent evidence to the contrary, SSA will presume that any notice of an initial or reconsideration determination denying a claim for title II disability benefits is covered by this Ruling if it was dated after August 31, 1977, and prior to March 1, 1990.
In all other situations (e.g., notices in title II nondisability claims, title XVI disability notices and any notice dated prior to September 1, 1977, or after February 28, 1990), the claimant must furnish a copy of the notice covered by this Ruling, or SSA's records must show that a notice covered by this Ruling was issued to the claimant.
C. Failure to Request Administrative Review as a Result of a Notice Covered By This Ruling
Under this Ruling, the Agency will find that a claimant has demonstrated that the failure to file a timely request for administrative review was the result of a notice covered by this Ruling if he or she provides an acceptable explanation, based on all the pertinent facts in a particular case, linking his or her failure to file a timely request for administrative review to the absence in the notice of a statement that filing a new application instead of a request for administrative review could result in the loss of benefits.
In making this determination, factors which an adjudicator may consider include, but are not limited to, the following:
- the claimant's explanation of what he or she thought the notice meant and how that understanding influenced his or her actions;
- the claimant's mental condition ;
- the claimant's educational level;
- the claimant's ability to speak and understand the English language;
- how much time elapsed before the claimant filed a subsequent claim or sought administrative review of the prior determination; and
- whether the claimant was represented by a non-attorney. Normally, representation by an attorney at the time of receipt of the notice bars a claimant from relief under this Ruling.
D. Good Cause Found
If the adjudicator determines that good cause exists, he or she will extend the time for requesting administrative review and take the action which would have been appropriate had the claimant filed a timely request for administrative review. A finding of good cause will result either in a new determination or decision that is subject to further administrative or judicial review of the claim, or a dismissal (for a reason other than late filing) of the request for review, as appropriate.
If the adjudicator determines that good cause does not exist, he or she will deny the request to extend the time for filing and dismiss the request. The dismissal will state the adjudicator's rationale for not finding good cause and advise the claimant that he or she can file a new application.
FURTHER INFORMATION: This Ruling does not supersede or modify any instructions issued in connection with Acquiescence Ruling (AR) 92-7(9). Claimants in the Ninth Circuit are eligible for relief under the conditions set forth in this Ruling and/or under the AR as applicable. SSA will not apply this Ruling where the administrative determination at issue has been reopened previously or where a decision finding good cause to extend the time for review of that determination has been made previously under SSA policies and procedures or under court order.
EFFECTIVE DATE: This Ruling is effective upon publication in the Federal Register.
 In cases in which the claimant's capacity to understand the administrative appeal process is questionable, Social Security Ruling 91-5p and for Fourth Circuit residents, Acquiescence Ruling 90-4(4) should be applied prior to consideration under this Ruling.