Speeding up a Social Security case for dire need

Gordon Gates wrote a great article outlining when “critical cases” get moved to the front of the line at Social Security.

Critical cases get priority because they are the most serious claims. There are three situations that constitute critical cases: 1) the claimant’s illness is terminal, 2) there is an indication that the claimant is suicidal or homicidal, and 3) dire need.

What is “dire need?”  HALLEX I-2-1-40 sets out the requirements:

The claimant is without, and is unable to obtain, food, medicine or shelter [DIRE NEED]; A dire need situation exists when a person has insufficient income or resources to meet an immediate threat to health or safety, such as the lack of food, clothing, shelter or medical care. The claimant must allege specific, immediate circumstances:

(1) lack of food (i.e., without and unable to obtain food),

(2) lack of medicine or medical care (e.g., the claimant expresses that he/she needs medicine/medical care but is without and unable to obtain it; the claimant does not have any health insurance, or indicates that access to necessary medical care is restricted because of lack of resources), and/or

(3) lack of shelter (e.g., shut-off of utilities such that home is uninhabitable, homelessness, expiration of shelter stay, or imminent eviction or foreclosure with no means to remedy the situation or obtain shelter).

As Gordon says, “mere hardship is not enough … the situation must be dire.”  This is an important distinction.  A number of my clients are homeless, yet Social Security is not expediting their cases. In my experience in Colorado, it is not easy to be designated a “critical case.”  But, if you think your situation meets these requirement, it may speed up your case quite a bit!

Read Gordon’s article for more information and check out his other articles for more great tips!

Photo by dark_ghetto28

  • eviction lawyer

    It does seem that everybody is into this kind of stuff lately. Don’t really understand it though, but thanks for trying to explain it. Appreciate you shedding light into this matter. Keep it up

  • jeffrey brumfield

    i am jeffrey brumfield and i got a disability claim going and my case is considered a dire need lets say i got my written decision today in the mail saying that i got approved how long will it take before i receive my benefits

    • http://planet10tech.com/ TomaszStasiuk

      Hi Jeffrey, processing of dire need cases will take as long as it takes SSA to get the job done. There are a lot of variables including processing repayment of temporary state (interim) benefits, workers’ compensation offset, calculating effect of any incarceration, prior overpayments, etc, etc, etc. Simply put a lot depends on what else SSA has to do other than simply calculate your benefits and get you a check.

      Even when it is a “simple” case, a lot depends on the case worker processing the benefits. I have seen very quick processing (a couple of weeks) and achingly slow processing (more than 4 months). A “dire need” label does expedite processing considerably.

      It is often a good idea to get in touch with the case technician at Social Security to 1) verify that the technician is aware of the dire need status, and 2) get an idea of what is needed, so the individual can help provide any missing information. A good working relationship with the case technician can help getting benefits processed faster.

      Good luck Jeffery and congratulations on the win!

  • twinkie41

    I have a hearing coming up at the end of Feb,but received a critical case expedited processing letter before my hearing letter.Why send the granted critical case letter when you still have to wait for the hearing.

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