Disability Benefits Expedited in Some Cases

An application for Social Security Disability can take up to two years to process, meaning many people with disabilities face a long wait for benefits. But the Social Security Administration will act much more quickly in some circumstances involving people whose disabilities are especially severe or who served in the military.

  1. Dire Need. The Social Security Administration will move quickly on your application if you:
  • Cannot afford housing, cannot pay your utilities, are about to be evicted or face foreclosure on your mortgage, or you are in a homeless shelter but you have maxed out on how long you can stay there.
  • Cannot afford medical treatment, medication, or have no health insurance.
  • Have no food or cannot afford to buy food.

You should provide as much proof as possible of your situation, including bills, eviction notices and estimates for your medical care. The more evidence you can provide, the more quickly your case can be expedited.

  1. Terminal Illness. If you have a terminal illness, your case will be expedited. Among illnesses considered terminal are ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease), AIDS and stage IV cancer. Applications also can be fast-tracked from applicants who have a fatal genetic or congenital birth defect, are receiving hospice care, are on life support, are in a coma of 30 days or more, are receiving home oxygen for pulmonary or heart failure, or are wait listed for a heart, lung, liver, or bone marrow transplant.
  2. Compassionate Allowances. The Social Security Administration will act quickly on your application if you have any of the severe medical conditions on the compassionate allowances list. These conditions are so dire that they obviously meet the definition of a disability, such as some cancers and neurological disorders. You must provide medical documentation to show your condition qualifies for this program.
  3. Personal or Public Safety Concerns. Claims may be expedited from people who are suicidal or homicidal. Evidence of a claimant’s dangerous mental state can come from the claimant, the family, doctors, law enforcement, or even Social Security employees.  When a claimant is determined to be a danger to himself or others, the SSA will contact authorities to ensure everyone’s safety and provide referrals to agencies, doctors, and other programs that can provide assistance and support.
  4. Military Personnel. Claims are expedited for military personnel whose injuries or illnesses developed on or after October 1, 2001, while the claimant was on active duty. It does not matter whether the claimant is still in the service at the time the claim is filed.
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