How To Get a Quicker Social Security Disability Decision With a “Dire Need” Letter

The Social Security Administration recognizes that some people applying for Social Security disability need to have their claims processed faster than others because of a critical condition. This is referred to as “dire need,” and there are rules in place for making these processes speedier, found in HALLEX I-2-1-40 and in HALLEX I-3-1-51 for hearing cases and appeals Council cases respectively.

In these rules, it is said that five types of cases deserve critical case procedures:

  • First: the TERI case, when a person’s illness is terminal.
  • Second: MSCC, which is for veteran applicants who suffered injury on or after October 1, 2001.
  • Third: CAL cases, which are flagged as compassionate allowance cases.
  • Fourth: the applicant cannot obtain needed food, medicine, or shelter.
  • Fifth: the claimant is considered suicidal or homicidal.

These different types are pretty self-explanatory, but I will explain this fourth variation a little further to help you better understand what is needed to obtain faster processing if you are in “dire need” as allowed in HALLEX I-2-1-40 B.4.a: “A dire need situation exists when a person has insufficient income or resources to meet an immediate threat to health or safety, such as the lack of food, clothing, shelter or medical care.”

To qualify for “dire need” processing, the claimant must provide proof that he or she lacks necessary food, medicine or shelter. Proof of the lack of health insurance or access to health insurance because of restricted finances can be considered “dire need.” A shutoff of utilities in a home making it uninhabitable or an imminent eviction from a home with no means to change the situation is also good proof. Ask your disability lawyer, if you have one, what specific information should be provided to support your claim of “dire need.”

If you do not have a lawyer, you can submit a “dire need” letter on your own. It should contain detailed information that supports your suggestion that you meet any of the above requirements. Such information can include, but is not limited to, letters from family and/or friends that are aware of and concerned about your situation, eviction or foreclosure notices, unpaid bills or letters requesting payment, or any relevant document that would suggest intense hardship.

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