Many people applying for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits often experience delays in the process. This can put them in a difficult financial situation, where they may risk of losing access to basic needs and necessities.
Applicants may be able to speed up the SSD claim review process in a few special cases. Those situations that are considered critical by the Social Security Administration (SSA) can require special processing and speed up the process.
One such situation is when an applicant is in dire need. This, however, will only help your situation if you have already requested a hearing before an administrative law judge. This is the first step in the disability benefits appeals process at which an applicant can jump ahead in line to have their case heard before others.
According to the SSA, a dire need situation exists when an applicant alleges any of the following circumstances:
- The applicant does not have food and cannot obtain food
- The applicant is lacking medical care or medicine and is unable to obtain it, or he or she does not have access to these things because of a lack of resources
- The applicant does not have shelter
An applicant can file a dire need letter with their local Office of Disability Adjudication and Review (ODAR) claiming that they are facing any of these circumstances and the SSA will designate that claim as critical and will move it through the hearing process at a quicker pace.
Unfortunately, the SSA and ODAR receive countless dire need letters. They are often not given much weight, but if compelling enough, they can help speed up your hearing scheduling.
In order to write an effective dire need letter, you should provide as much detail as possible about your situation. Make sure to include information about which bills you may be behind on and how far behind you are.
Include information such as not being able to get the medication you need or if you cannot make your rent or mortgage payments and are about to be evicted from your home. You should also include any documentation you may have, including copies of past due notices, eviction threats and other documents.