If you have completed all required paperwork with your initial application for Social Security Disability, responded promptly to Social Security requests for information, submitted your medical records early in the process and then received a denial of benefits, you may appeal the decision and request a hearing with an administrative law judge—and wait.
Shortening the Wait Time for a Hearing
After you have appealed a denial and requested an ALJ hearing, if your medical records clearly shows that you are disabled and there is no need for testimony from you or a vocational expert, you can avoid the long delay in waiting for an ALJ appeal hearing by requesting an “on the record” (OTR) review by an administrative law judge. If the Office of Disability Adjudication and Review (ODAR) grants your request for an OTR decision, your application will be approved. If it denies your request, you will have to wait for the ALJ hearing.
Other Ways to Speed up Your Claim
The following circumstances may also speed up the process of getting a hearing and benefits:
- If you have medical evidence that you have one of the 200 very serious illnesses on the “Compassionate Allowances List (CAL)” and you meet the other qualifications for SSI or SSDI, you may be able to quickly get benefits.
- If you have a terminal illness and meet the other qualifications for SSI or SSDI, you should be able to get benefits quickly.
- Social security will issue SSI benefits for up to six months before it issues a decision on an application for any one of fifteen conditions, including ALS, spinal cord injury causing an inability to walk without assistance, end stage renal disease, low birth weight, mental retardation and Downs Syndrome.
- If you have a “dire need” with an immediate threat to health or safety, such as not enough money for food, shelter or medical care, you may write a letter describing your situation to your ODAR office and ask for your hearing to be scheduled quickly.
- If you have a disability that began while you were on active duty, you may request that your claim be expedited.
If all else fails, you can then try calling or writing your Senator and Congressman or Congresswoman to contact Social Security on your behalf, to get your case heard sooner.