Expedited Processing for Certain Disability Claims

The processing time for social security disability claims can be very lengthy, sometimes lasting up to two years before a final decision is reached. Fortunately, many individuals with serious “critical cases” may be able to pursue expedited processing for their disability claims.

In 2014, nearly 40 million individuals in the United States reported at least one disability. While some individuals who suffer from disability are able to provide financial support for themselves and their loved ones, others are not. In fact, it is estimated that nearly 30 percent of disabled adults who are of working age in the United States live below the poverty level. Although many of these individuals have applied for Social Security disability benefits, the ever increasing wait time for disability claims processing has caused many disabled Americans to lose their homes, their cars, and their life savings because they are unable to work. For those with progressive or terminal disabilities, the wait without medical or financial assistance can be deadly.

Critical Disability Cases Receive Faster Processing

There are six types of Social Security disability claims that the Social Security Administration recognizes as critical cases that require expedited processing.

  • Dire Need Cases: When a disabled individual does not have the resources needed to access food, medicine, medical treatment or shelter, it is referred to as a “dire need case.” Providing evidence of financial hardship, such as an eviction notice or notice of foreclosure, projected medical costs, or proof that utility services have been discontinued can be helpful in achieving faster claims processing.
  • Personal or Public Safety Cases: When there is evidence that an applicant has a mental condition and has become homicidal or suicidal, the SSA will process the claim more quickly.
  • Terminal Illness: When the disabled individual’s condition is deemed as terminal, expedited processing will occur. There are numerous terminal conditions that will qualify for what the SSA refers to as a TERI case.
  • Military Service Personnel: Past or present military service personnel who were injured or developed illnesses while on active duty on or after October 1, 2001 will receive expedited processing of their claims.
  • Compassionate Allowances: There are approximately 165 compassionate allowance conditions that qualify for expedited claims processing.
  • Congress: Individuals who have been waiting for a long period of time can contact a Senator, member of Congress, or other high priority figure to request faster processing of a disability claim.