What is the Application Process for Social Security Disability and SSI?
How do you Win Benefits under Social Security Disability or SSI?
If I am determined disabled, how far back will Social Security pay benefits?
How do you prove your disability case if you have a mental condition?
What Can I Do to Improve My Chances of Winning Disability Benefits
Common Mistakes after Receiving a Denial of Social Security Disability or SSI Benefits
How to File for Disability - Tips for Filing
If You Get Approved For SSDI Will You Also Get Medicare?
How much does a Social Security disability attorney get paid?
Social Security Disability SSI Criteria and the Evaluation Process
How long does it take to be approved for SSI or Social Security disability?
What do you Need to Prove to Qualify for Disability Benefits?
Social Security Disability SSI and Fibromyalgia
Social Security Disability SSI and Degenerative Disc Disease
Can I Qualify For Disability and Receive Benefits based on Depression?
Answers to questions about SSD and SSI disability
What Disabilities Qualify for SSI and Social Security Disability Benefits?
Social Security Disability Status
Social Security Disability Tips — how a claim gets worked on
Social Security Disability, SSI Disability - Terms, Definitions, Concepts
Can a disability attorney speed up my disability hearing? By What Methods?
How to prove you are disabled
and win disability benefits
If you have representation on your social security disability or SSI disability claim, your disability attorney can attempt to speed up the scheduling of your hearing before an administrative law judge, or even eliminating the need for a hearing altogether. Generally, this would only be possible in one of several ways.
1. Requesting an on-the-record review - Getting an approval based on an OTR (on the record) review can eliminate the need for a hearing. An OTR review is requested when your disability attorney believes that the medical evidence supporting your case is very strong (in other words, that there is no question that you should qualify for disability benefits in accordance with the SSA definition of disability based on what your records have to say about your condition).
The request also depends on one of the following: A) Whether or not your condition has significantly worsened since the time that your case was previously denied at the reconsideration appeal level or B) Whether or not your claim was improperly denied by the reconsideration level examiner due to erroneous handling, or a misinterpretation of your medical evidence.
And on-the-record review, of course, will only be requested by your disability attorney if your attorney believes there is very little question that the case is strong enough to be approved without the need for presentation and argument at a formal hearing. Whether or not the request for the review will result in an on-the-record allowance (approval) will depend on the merits of the case and whatever additional material may have been submitted by the disability attorney.
2. Requesting an expedite of the hearing based on dire need - If a claimant is in danger of losing their residence (their rented residence due to eviction or their mortgaged home due to foreclosure), or losing their access to needed medical treatment or prescribed medications, they may be able to request that the hearing office speed up the scheduling of their disability hearing based on this. If a dire need situation exists, a claimant's disability attorney can formally submit the dire need request to either the hearing office director or the administrative law judge if a specific judge has been assigned to the case at the time of the request.
With the dire need request, the disability attorney should attach documentation regarding the claimant's situation (such as a statement from the claimant's treating physician regarding the deteriorating condition or need for prescription medicine, or copies of foreclosure or eviction notices). Sending supporting documentation will substantially improve one's chances of having their hearing expedited. This is especially true considering the fact that, due to current backlogs at the hearing level, the various hearing offices are receiving unprecedented numbers of requests for expedites based on dire need. In other words, sending in a dire need request without documentation regarding the dire need situation may be next to useless.
3. Congressional Inquiry - A claimant, or their disability attorney, can always contact the office of their congressional representative (their district congressman or congresswoman) to have that office conduct a formal inquiry into why it is taking so long to get a hearing scheduled. Congressional inquiries are done at all levels of the disability system. However, at the disability application and request for reconsideration levels, it is generally a waste of time to do this type of inquiry since the inquiry request is generally just put into the claimant's disability file with no discernable effect on the case (which is actually logical since at those levels, the case will simply move at whatever speed it can move regardless of who inquiries into it).
At the hearing level, however, where cases can literally sit for 1-2 years before being scheduled, an inquiry from the office of a congressperson can effectively get a case scheduled many months faster than would ordinarily have been the case. As someone involved in the representation of social security disability and SSI claims, I have seen the effectiveness of Congressional inquiries on a number of occasions.
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SSD and SSI are Federal Programs
The title II Social Security Disability and title 16 SSI Disability programs operate under federal guidelines and, therefore, the program requirements--medical and non-medical--apply to all states:
Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming
Recent approval and denial statistics for various states can be viewed here:
Social Security Disability, SSI Approval and Denial Statistics by state
Special Section: Disability Lawyers and unnecessary claim denials