3 Ways to Get Your Social Security Disability Hearing Scheduled Faster

3 Ways to Get Your Social Security Disability Hearing Scheduled Faster

Once you are considered disabled by the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) standards, meaning you will be disabled for at least one year or until death and you can’t sustain gainful employment, it can takes months to years for Social Security disability (SSD) benefit approval. In the meantime, you might find it challenging to make ends meet, since you can work while waiting to hear if you’re your claim has been approved or denied, but you can’t make more than $1,180 per month (or $1,970 if you’re blind). If your paychecks go above this amount, the SSA might view it as “substantial gainful activity” (SGA) that negates your need for SSDI. Therefore, you might be wondering if there’s a way to speed up the hearing process, especially since most letters received after requesting a hearing state that it will take place between 12 and 18 months from then.

Three Ways to Speed Up Your Disability Hearing

The good news is that there are three possible ways to speed up the process and potentially get your hearing scheduled for a sooner date:

Option 1 For a Faster Disability Hearing: Request An On the Record Review

One way to get your disability hearing scheduled faster is to request an on the record (OTR) review. This is a good option if you’ve submitted substantial medical evidence that proves your disability status beyond a reasonable doubt. First, you or your representative should ask the SSD hearing office to review your file or record before the disability hearing date. The goal with an OTR review is to get your claim approved without needing to go through the hearing before an administrative law judge. Keep in mind that in order to be granted on OTR review, your medical records must be highly compelling. OTR reviews can be requested through the Office of Disability Adjudication and Review (ODAR), but you must wait until you have appealed your initial claim’s denial before submitting your request.

Option 2 For a Faster Disability Hearing: Submit A Dire Need Letter

Another way to speed up the process is to submit a dire need letter to the SSA. Use this letter to explain the severity of your financial circumstances. (For example: If you’re losing the ability to pay for your medications or are facing foreclosure/eviction.) In these cases, the ODAR may grant you an expedited disability hearing. Any evidence of dire need should be provided with the letter, including late payment notices from mortgage companies, landlords and utility companies. Dire need letters should be very detailed and list all immediate threats regarding your shelter, food and health.

Option 3 For a Faster Disability Hearing: Demand A Congressional Inquiry

The third method for speeding up your disability hearing date is to contact your local congressperson or senator’s office. This interaction will sometimes lead to a congressional inquiry. In other words, a staff member calls or writes the SSA hearing office on your behalf asking to move up your hearing date. Keep in mind that this option doesn’t guarantee that your disability hearing will be moved up, but it can’t hurt to try. In many cases, it can be beneficial to you, so it’s often worth the effort.

How A Legal Professional or Disability Advocate Can Help You

Going through the application process for Social Security disability benefits can be long and confusing. In order to have your best chance of approval, you may want to consider contacting an advocate or attorney specializing in Social Security disability cases. These professionals can help you determine your best option for a faster disability hearing. In addition, a disability lawyer can suggest other ways to improve your chances for winning SSDI benefits. Haven’t yet submitted your claim? Learn how to apply for Social Security disability.

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