Generally speaking, an individual’s Social Security Disability claim takes several months to process. If the claim is denied at the first level, it could anywhere from nine to twenty four months to reach an actual hearing. Hiring a lawyer will not speed up the processing of your claim and it will certainly not get you a hearing faster, but there is a way to potentially have your claim heard under extraordinary circumstances.
If a claimant is experiencing extreme financial hardships, they can submit what is known as a “dire needs” letter. Often times claimants face serious financial difficulties in waiting for their hearing. Whether you are facing a foreclosure on your home, or you can no longer afford to pay for medications that you desperately need to treat your condition, submitting a “dire needs” letter explaining your hardships might pursuede an Administrative Law Judge to expedite your case.
It’s important to remember that there is no guarantee that your case will be expedited just because you have submitted a “dire needs” letter. Social Security Administrative Law Judges receive hundreds of these letters each month, so they can’t possibly grant every claimant’s request for an expedited hearing. However, if you are experiencing severe financial hardships and waiting months for your hearing will simply not allow you to pay for food, shelter, clothing and medication, a “dire needs” letter might be the only chance you have in speeding up the time it takes to get a hearing.