Saturday, November 14, 2009

SSD Delays

Delays are commonplace when applying for Social Security Disability (“SSD”) benefits. Those delays frequently create “dire need” situations, such as being unable to afford medications, medical treatment, utilities, rent, or mortgage costs. Fortunately, the Social Security Program Operations Manual System permits expediting a claim when dire need circumstances exist.

I advise my clients to write me a letter explaining why their need exceeds that of other claimants, who may be able to pay for their health and housing. I suggest that they provide copies of eviction papers or past dues notices that substantiate their claims. I then provide the letter to the SSA describing how their delays have exacerbated the claimant’s dire need, and cite the relevant rules pertaining to expediting such claims.

I represent a 52 year old teacher who had to apply for food stamps while awaiting a decision on her SSD application. The SSA local office lost the application and demanded a new one. After showing proof that I had submitted the application, I sent a copy of the claimant’s letter stating that she had been approved for food stamps, and asked that the case be expedited as a dire need situation without having to submit a new application. The claimant was approved today for SSD benefits just one month after the dire need letter was submitted.

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