Expedited Disability Benefit Hearings - Are You Eligible
Author: Kenneth Hiller
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Published: 2013-04-23 - (Updated: 2015-02-20)
Under SSA guidelines expedited disability benefit hearings may be available in several situations.
Despite efforts to reduce a backlog of cases, an application for Social Security Disability (SSD) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) can take a long time.
Nationally, the average wait time for a hearing before an administrative law judge is about 11.4 months, according to a website that tracks Social Security Administration data. In Pennsylvania, applicants for Social Security Disability or Supplemental Security Income wait an average of 12 months for a hearing. In Pittsburgh, the average wait is 13 months, according to data from December 2012.
The extended waiting time can be financially and mentally draining. Wouldn't it be nice if your case could be heard sooner? In some cases, it can.
Reasons A Case Can Be Expedited
The Social Security Administration makes certain types of cases a priority. An expedited case does not increase your chances of securing SSD or SSI benefits, but it can result in a hearing being scheduled more quickly.
Under SSA guidelines, expedited hearings may be available in several situations. Here are four of them:
- Terminal illness: If you are applying for disability benefits after being diagnosed with a terminal illness, the Social Security Administration may handle your applications for disability benefits a little differently. That could include expediting your case.
- Veterans: Veterans who were injured after Oct. 1, 2001, may be eligible for an expedited hearing. It doesn't matter whether the veteran was injured in the U.S. or in another country as long as the veteran was on active military duty at the time of the injury.
- Compassionate Allowance: Applicants who have a medical condition on the SSA's Compassionate Allowances list may be eligible for expedited processing. Compassionate Allowances are specific medical conditions so severe that they obviously meet the agency's definition of disability. According to the SSA, applicants with conditions on this list could have a decision within weeks instead of months or years.
- Dire Need: While many people who apply for federal disability benefits are in financial need, some situations are more serious than others. If your financial situation puts you in danger, you may be able to expedite your case. Examples of dire need include being unable to buy food, at risk of homelessness, or unable to obtain medical care.
Contact An Attorney To Learn More
If your case is eligible for an expedited hearing, you could receive a hearing faster. An experienced SSD attorney can advise you on whether your case could be eligible for expedited processing and assist you with the request.
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