WAITING for the Social Security Administration (SSA) to approve your application for disability benefits can be a painfully long process for many.
According to the SSA, it usually takes three to five months to get a decision on your eligibility for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI).
More frustratingly, around 65% of early SSDI applications would be denied by the SSA.
It is therefore possible that you will wait for some time before your application is finally approved.
SSDI aims to bring relief to people with disabilities who can no longer work, or at the same capacity as before.
Below we reveal several ways to speed up the process if you think you are eligible for benefits.
1. Make sure the information is accurate and sufficient
One of the reasons why your SSDI request might have been refused initially is that there may have been errors or you did not provide enough details.
Specifically, you will want to answer all questions and provide as much information as possible to the SSA.
For example, you will want to provide essential information about your employment history and medical treatment.
This includes names of doctors and hospitals, dates of treatment, as well as a list of your employers over the past 15 years with job titles and duties.
2. Appeal as soon as possible
If your request is denied, you can file an appeal from the date the decision is made.
Although you have 60 days to do so, you can speed up the process by submitting an appeal as soon as possible before the deadline.
If you wait the full 60 days, your application may be delayed.
Appeal forms can be downloaded online, or you can call the SSA at 1-800-772-1213 to request that one be sent to you.
3. Obtain a judge’s hearing
There are four levels of appeal you can file – but the most important might be to request a hearing from an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ).
Although winning in front of a judge is far from a guarantee, you will have better odds in your favor than when you first submitted your application.
It is said that the rate of approvals is 45% against 35% of refusals, and 20% of rejections.
To maximize your chances of winning, be sure to hire an attorney who is experienced and familiar with SSDI.
4. Dire need
There are several ways to get SSDI benefits faster by expressing an urgent need.
This includes if you are without food, medicine, and cannot obtain them due to a lack of financial assets.
Also, urgent need may apply if you are about to be evicted or seized, or if you are homeless.
If you think you qualify, you will need to write a Letter of Urgent Need and explain your situation to your SSA and why you need benefits sooner.
You should include any relevant documents in your letter.
5. terminal illness
A terminal illness that is incurable and can cause death can also help speed up the process.
The SSA considers the following situations to be terminal:
- Lou Gehrig’s disease or ALS
- Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS)
- Specific cancer types
- Those receiving palliative inpatient care or palliative home care
- On a cardiopulmonary life support machine
- Those who are going to undergo a heart, liver or lung transplant
Importantly, you will need to provide the SSA with proof of your condition.
Those who have been injured while serving in the military can also request that their claims be processed more quickly.
As long as the disability occurred while on active duty on or after October 1, 2001, you should be able to get your claim processed more quickly.
Meanwhile, we break down how much you can earn in 2022 from SSI and SSDI and still qualify.
See the full 2022 payment schedule for SSI, Social Security, and SSDI.
We also explain why it makes sense to start claiming Social Security at age 70.
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