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How an attorney might help speed up a disability appeal


It has been all over the news of late about how people in the Killeen and Fort Hood areas, as well as around the country, are literally dying while they are waiting for the outcome of their Social Security disability cases.

After all, many if not most applications for SSD are denied at the outset, which means most people have to ask for an administrative review before a special judge dedicated to hearing Social Security cases. While this blog has mentioned that this is often ultimately successful, it can take months or even years to get a hearing.

To some extent, an attorney can do only so much to speed up this process. However, there are a few techniques an attorney might try in order to speed up this time table.

For one, an attorney can write what is called a “dire need” letter. The Social Security Administration has a policy that someone in so-called “dire need” can move to the front of the line, in a manner of speaking, when it comes to getting a hearing. While it means they get a hearing more quickly, the fact someone has a dire need will not impact the ultimate decision.

As such, so long as a client truly has a “dire need,” it does little harm to try to hasten the process. A dire need includes circumstances like the fact an applicant will be forced out of his or her home without benefits. A dire need also includes situations in which an applicant must have some income to afford necessary medical care.

An attorney may in the right cases also request a review of an SSD case “on the record,” meaning the applicant waives a hearing and will allow the judge to make his or her decision on the medical evidence already submitted. While this speeds things up, it can also backfire since the applicant will not have the opportunity to explain his or her circumstances to the judge.