Can my State Representative Help me With my Social Security Disability Case?

Yes, you can get assistance from an elected representative on a Social Security Disability or SSI disability case, but the representative wouldn't be state level. What you're actually referring to is something known as a congressional inquiry.

How does a congressional inquiry work? You can contact your district congressman and ask one of their staffers to make an inquiry into your pending case. I should point out that this is, typically, only potentially helpful if your claim is at the disability hearing level. In other words, you have requested a hearing and are waiting on a hearing date. That's where the system really bogs down and waits of up to 2 years for a hearing are not at all unusual. You can request a congressional inquiry if your case is pending at the level of an application for disability, or at the reconsideration appeal.

But, speaking as a former disability examiner, it was my observation that the effect of this was practically nil. That's simply because there really isn't anything to "expedite" at that level of the system. The biggest wait for a case at that level has to do with medical records and, for the most part, a disability examiner simply has to wait for medical providers to comply with the records requests.

At the disability hearing level, a hearing request can be expedited under certain circumstances, however, such as for dire need. However, you don't need to contact a politician for a dire need request. You can have your attorney send a dire need request for an expedite to the hearing office director.

It's been my observation that, at this level, congressional inquiries are sometimes just as nonproductive as at the lower levels. However, sometimes they will get a hearing scheduled faster. And for a claimant who's edging toward financial collapse, even getting to a hearing a couple of months sooner can make all the difference.

About the Author: Tim Moore is a former Social Security Disability Examiner in North Carolina, has been interviewed by the NY Times and the LA Times on the disability system, and is an Accredited Disability Representative (ADR) in North Carolina. For assistance on a disability application or Appeal in NC, click here.

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