Your Social Security disability application was denied. You know that you have the right to appeal, but you are worried about how long it could take to get a hearing and to get the Social Security disability benefits you’ve earned.
You have bills to pay right now. You have an urgent need to keep food on the table, to pay your rent or mortgage, to keep your heat or lights on in your home, and to pay for your medical care.
You are not alone. Many Social Security disability applicants face dreadful economic situations when they are no longer able to work because of their disabilities. The Social Security Administration recognizes that your need for disability benefits may be urgent, and in some cases, the agency may classify your claim as a Dire Need Case.
How to Qualify as a Dire Need Case
Your Social Security disability claim may be deemed critical and qualify for special processing if you establish that your need is dire. Specifically, the Social Security Administration’s Office of Hearings Operations must find that one or more of the following is true:
- You are without food, and you are unable to attain food
- You can’t get the medicine or medical care that you need because of your financial situation
- You lack shelter. This may mean that you lack utilities, so your home is uninhabitable, you are homeless, your shelter stay has expired, or you face imminent eviction or foreclosure, and you don’t have the means to prevent the eviction or foreclosure or to find other suitable housing.
Office of Hearing Operations staff should accept your allegation about why you qualify for dire need status. However, as is the case with all Social Security disability application matters, you need to provide the right evidence to protect your claim.
How to Prove You Have a Dire Need Case
If you are seeking dire need status, then you may present a letter with supporting evidence to the Office of Hearing Operations. You should put your most pressing financial needs first. While many people have financial worries, you need to establish that you meet one of the three criteria listed above. Therefore, if you are facing eviction, if your heat is turned off, if you can’t get medicine, or if you can’t buy food due to your disability, then you should begin your letter by explaining why you can’t pay for these things.
You may attach supporting evidence which could include:
- An eviction notice
- Foreclosure warnings
- Notices of utility shut-offs
- Copies of unpaid bills
- Collection letters
You should include as much detail as possible, including dates. It is okay to ask for help from relatives, close friends, and your Social Security disability lawyer when drafting your letter and compiling supporting evidence.
Based on the evidence you provide, the Office of Hearing Operations may deem your case critical because of your dire need and flag your case accordingly.
If your situation changes and becomes non-critical, then the critical dire need status may be removed or changed.
Call a Social Security Disability Lawyer Now
A dire need case is just one way that your claim may be granted critical status. If you are terminally ill, if your condition is on the Compassionate Allowances list, or if another critical situation exists, then you may also qualify for expedited status.
Call our experienced New England Social Security disability appeal lawyers today. We only handle Social Security disability cases locally in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and New Hampshire. At Keefe Disability Law, you will always get the personal attention that you deserve from attorneys who know what evidence to present to hearing officers.
We will work with you to draft a strong dire need letter, if appropriate, and we will follow up with the Hearing Office regularly until your hearing is scheduled. Then, we will represent you at your hearing and fight hard to get you the benefits you’ve earned. Call us or start a live chat with us today to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation and to learn more about your rights.