Expedited Social Security Disability Claims
Who Is Eligible And How Do I Apply?
With wait times for disability claims at a record high from COVID-19 backlogs, underfunding, and high turnover rate, many social security disability applicants are struggling with the financial strain of waiting additional months for the resources they need. Due to the backlog crisis facing many Disability Determination Services offices, the earliest average wait time for an initial decision is now 7 months - 3 months longer than during 2019. We understand that if you're unable to work, not having access to your disability benefits can put you in significant financial hardship.
However, it's important to note that in rare cases, Social Security will expedite a disability claim. They may also provide some individuals with temporary benefits to keep hardship at bay while they process their final decision. Detailed below are some of the ways you might be able to have your claim expedited.
Compassionate Allowances List (CAL)
The SSA has a list of hundreds of medical conditions that automatically qualify for expedited processing. These conditions include aggressive cancers, neurodegenerative and immune system diseases, and rare disorders that affect children. A complete list of these conditions can be found at:
If you are a veteran rated as "100% P&T" by the Department of Veterans Affairs, Social Security will treat your claim as a high priority workload. Additionally, if you received a disabling injury while on active duty on or after Oct. 1, 2001 (even if it did not occur during combat), you may be eligible for expedited processing.
If you are at the hearing level of your appeal - meaning your claim has already been denied at both the initial and reconsideration levels - and are facing a dire lack of resources, you have the option to submit a “dire need” letter. This letter should be mailed to the nearest Office of Hearing Operations (OHO) in your region, and should describe your situation in detail, emphasizing the imminent hardship you're facing. The SSA defines any of the following situations as "dire needs:"
- You have no food, and you have no way to get it
- You have lost or are about to lose your home to eviction or foreclosure
- Your utilities have been shut off due to lack of funds
- Your access to necessary or life-sustaining medications or treatment is restricted due to your lack of resources
Finally, if your claim has been denied and you are waiting on a decision, there are options to expedite the notoriously sluggish appeals process.
To appeal a decision on your disability claim, Social Security must give you at least 75 days' notice before a scheduled hearing. At Wettermark Keith, our attorneys generally speed up this process for clients by waiving this 75-day notice hearing. Another option to expedite your claim is to request an on-the-record (OTR) decision from an administrative law judge. To do this, you need to submit a brief before the scheduled hearing that addresses relevant evidence of your disability and includes a completed OTR checklist - this indicates you believe the evidence supports a "fully favorable decision."
If your claim has been unjustly denied, consider hiring an attorney to advocate for your needs and guide you through the appeals process. After a free consultation, our experienced lawyers will review your case, help you identify ways to strengthen your appeal, and represent you in court, if necessary. Having expert legal counsel on your side is a sure way to obtain the benefits you need to continue your life.
HERE'S WHAT TO DO NEXT
If you or a loved one have been injured and think you might have a case, call us now for a free consultation.