Ways to Speed Up the Social Security Disability Claim Process

by William Carr, Supervising Attorney

Obtaining Social Security Disability and/or Supplemental Security Income benefits can be a long process spanning, in many cases, well over a year.  This can place claimants in difficult situations due to the inability to perform significant work for pay during this process.  Fortunately for some, there are situations where Social Security will “speed up” the process for a claimant so that the determination on the claim is rendered more quickly.  In this article, we will discuss five different ways for a claimant to try to get expedited processing of a pending disability claim.

NOTE – just because you qualify for expedited processing, does not mean that you will also be found disabled per Social Security’s standards.

Terminal Illness

If you have been diagnosed with certain impairments Social Security has recognized as terminal, you can qualify for expedited processing of your claim.  Similarly, if you are currently receiving in-patient or at-home hospice care, you can qualify for expedited processing of your claim.

Military Service Casualty Cases

If you were (1) on active duty with a branch of the United States military at the time you suffered a disabling injury (whether the injury is a result of your service or not), and (2) you suffered this injury on or after October 1, 2001, then you will qualify for expedited processing of your claim.

Compassionate Allowances

Social Security will expedite disability claims where the applicant’s medical conditions, while perhaps not terminal, are extremely serious and obviously meet disability standards.  This is a very difficult standard to meet and most times Social Security will not find the medical evidence demonstrates obvious disability.

Dire Need

Social Security’s definition of “dire need” is more strict than what most people would consider dire need situations.  Essentially, to qualify for dire need expedited processing you need to provide some sort of proof that you are currently unable to obtain food, clothing or shelter to an extent that there is an immediate threat to your health and safety.  For example, providing Social Security with an eviction notice, in some cases, may be enough to have Social Security expedite your claim.

Congressional Inquiry

Getting your local congressperson to make a high-priority inquiry with Social Security about the length of time it is taking to process your claim is another way to attempt to get your claim processed more quickly.