Expediting A Social Security Disability Claim
The national average for a Social Security disability application decision is now 7-9 months, and most Americans cannot go that long without income. While a claim still has to meet all of the necessary technical and medical criteria to be approved, there are four ways to help expedite/reduce a claim’s processing time:
1. Compassionate Allowance – this program provides a way for Social Security to quickly identify diseases and other medical conditions that, by definition, meet their standards for disability benefits. This initiative helps us reduce waiting time to reach a disability determination for individuals with the most serious disabilities by assigning priority to these cases. Adult Onset Huntington’s Disease is on the Compassionate Allowance list and should be requested in every HD application per DI 23022.923 Adult Onset Huntington Disease.
2. Terminal Illness (TERI) – Social Security also prioritizes terminal illness cases, requiring case workers to expedite the claim at every step of the process. Social Security defines terminal illness as “a medical condition that is untreatable and expected to result in death.” These cases are flagged if the application or medical records indicate that an impairment is untreatable, cannot be reversed, and is expected to end in death.
3. Dire Need – If you are in a financially dire situation, you can submit a letter to Social Security to possibly get a decision faster. Dire need exists when: you are without food or shelter, including utilities, or you are without medical care or coverage and you need disability. Your letter should give as much detail as possible about past-due bills, eviction, foreclosure threat, inability to pay for medications, danger of car repossession, etc. It is helpful to attach documentation of your financial hardships.
4. Congressional Inquiry – A congressional inquiry is a “status check” of your disability claim conducted by your state senator or representative on your behalf, and can help expedite the processing of your case (it appears to help most at the Administrative Hearing stage). To initiate a congressional inquiry, you will need to contact your state senator or representative’s office to request that he or she look into the status of your disability claim. You may need to complete an official form from your representative’s office or write a letter.
When requesting an expedited claim from Social Security, it will be very important to follow-up with your local Social Security office on weekly basis until you confirm the claim has been expedited or the office has received your supporting documentation.