Monday, October 21, 2013

Dire Need

The Social Security Disability (“SSD”) application process is a slow one. When people lose their income because of a disability, especially those with little or no savings, they wind up having severe financial troubles. Social Security has a priority plan and procedures to expedite the processing of SSD applications for the most serious claims first.

Dire Need is one basis for expediting. The inability to pay for food, medical needs, or housing can constitute dire need. Providing documentation of creditor threats, late payment, foreclosure papers with a letter explaining why you cannot pay for medications, obtain needed clinical or hospital treatment, or pay for critical expenses, such as utilities, rent, car lease, will help substantiate the dire need.

I represent a 49 year old former administrative services for an insurance company who had to stop working primarily due to spinal cord lesions. Despite a protracted work history, the claimant became destitute. After bringing the claimant’s situation to the attention of the hearing office, buttressed by 40 page letter and documentation detailing her dire need, her case was expedited, and approved in 6 weeks.

Just because a claim is expedited does not guarantee that it will be approved. However, if the claim is going to be denied at a hearing, then it is still better to get the denial expedited to hasten review by the Appeals Council.

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