For the most part, processing times are what they are for Social Security Disability appeals. There are some situations, however, where your case can be moved up in line for consideration through an expedited procedure.
How to determine if your case meets the criteria to be expedited depends if your case is deemed a “critical case”. These rules define when a case may be considered “critical”:
1. Terminal Illness: A case is designated critical when the claimant’s illness is alleged or identified as terminal (i.e., untreatable, irreversible, and expected to end in death).
2. Military Casualty/Wounded Warrior: A case is designated critical when the claim involves any current or former member of a military service who:
- Sustained an illness, injury, or wound;
- Is alleging a physical or mental impairment, regardless of how the impairment occurred, or where it occurred (i.e., United States or on foreign soil); and
- Sustained the impairment while on active duty status on or after October 1, 2001.
3. Compassionate Allowances: A case is designated critical when your disability involves diseases and other medical conditions that invariably qualify under the Listing of Impairments.
4. Dire Need Case. A dire need situation exists when a claimant alleges any of the following circumstances:
- The claimant is without food and is unable to obtain it.
- The claimant lacks medicine or medical care andis unable to obtain it or access to necessary medical care is restricted because of a lack of resources.
- The claimant lacks shelter(e.g., without utilities such that the home is uninhabitable, or homelessness, expiration of a shelter stay, or imminent eviction or foreclosure with no means to remedy the situation or obtain shelter).
5. Potentially Violent. A claim may be designated as critical if there is an indication that the claimant is suicidal, homicidal, or potentially violent due to serious mental illness.
The justification for requesting a “dire need/critical case” must be very specific and documented. For instance, just submitting a warning for an eviction or foreclosure which could render you homeless is usually not sufficient. You need to have an actual eviction or foreclosure notice.
Getting a case designated a “critical case” is becoming more and more difficult as Social Security Administration staff cuts have caused increasing delays in processing Social Security Disability appeals – causing more and more claimants to fall into one or more of these critical needs categories. Everyone can’t be at the front of a line at the same time.
At Goss & Fentress, we request expedited treatment for any of our clients who may qualify. It’s just one of the ways we try to get your claim resolved as quickly as possible.