Possible Ways To Expedite the Social Security Disability Process

Georgia Social Security Disability Process Lawyer

What Qualifies As Dire Need For Social Security Disability?

Applicants for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) Benefits and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) quickly learn that the process for receiving benefits is significantly backlogged. During this time, many individuals face dire financial situations due to their inability to work. Currently, the average wait time from the hearing request date until the actual hearing varies, but below is a list of average wait times for hearing offices in Georgia.

  • Atlanta Downtown – 20.0 months –  Atlanta North – 18.0 months
  • Covington, GA – 19.0 months –  Savannah, GA – 18.0 months

The good news for those that find themselves in dire situations is there are certain circumstances under which  one can receive a hearing faster than the average wait time.

  1. Terminal Illness – These are known as TERI cases and defined by the SSA as “a medical condition that is untreatable and expected to result in death”. If your claim is a TERI case, it can be expedited through every step in the disability process. Examples of TERI cases are 1) Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), 2) AIDS, 3) allegation or diagnosis of a) cancer of esophagus, b) cancer of the liver, c) cancer of the pancreas, d) cancer of the gallbladder, e) mesothelioma, f) cancer of the brain, and 3) comatose for 30 days or more.  A TERI case is generally proved by providing medical documentation of the condition. If the claim no longer falls within the SSA definition of terminal illness, then the claim may be taken out of TERI Case status.
  2. Dire Need – Sometimes applicants face situations which may allow them to be expedited under the dire need exception. Examples of these situations are: if the claimant is without food, medicine or medical care (and is unable to obtain it due to lack of resources), or the claimant is already facing homelessness or is in imminent risk of eviction or foreclosure. A dire need claim can be proven by providing documentation of your dire need circumstance. If the dire need situation, once granted, no longer becomes critical it may be modified back to regular status.
  3. 100% Permanent and Total Disability Rating – Veterans are provided with a service-connected disability rating though the VA. If the rating is found to be at a 100% P&T disabled, then the claim will be expedited at all levels. However, this expedited status is not a guarantee for a finding of disabled. It is simply guaranteeing the review process will be expedited at each level.
  • Military Casualty/Wounded Warrior – A veteran, who does not have a disability rating of 100%, but who has sustained an impairment (mental or physical) while on active duty would qualify for special processing. The impairment must be sustained while on active duty status on or after October 01, 2001.
  • Potentially Violent – If the claimant is suicidal, homicidal, or potentially violent their case may be designated as critical.

These circumstances will expedite the claim to the hearing level. Generally, the Administrative Law Judge advises they will issue a decision in 60-90 days after the date of hearing. A request may be made to the ALJ requesting expedited status if the claimant has been designated one of the aforementioned titles.

Written By: Tina Thapar, Esq.

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