Is it possible to speed up a Social Security Disability claim?

This article looks at how to speed up the SSDI claims process, especially with how an attorney can help.

The wait times for Social Security Disability (SSDI) hearings are notoriously long. As the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports, there are currently one million Americans stuck waiting for a hearing, with the average wait time being two years. The majority of those waiting are stuck in the appeals process, which is common given that most initial applications - even those that eventually succeed - are at first denied. Understandably, plenty of people are wondering if there is anything they can do to speed up the claims process.

Talk to an attorney

The best thing that SSDI claimants can do is to talk to an attorney about their file. There is a lot of confusion and misunderstanding in the media and general public concerning how SSDI claims work. As a result, when people initially file for SSDI without the help of an attorney, they tend to make errors or take steps that slow down their application. An SSDI attorney can help clients get their claim right the first time around, thus reducing the chances that they will be stuck in a frustratingly long appeals process.

Filing an On The Record (OTR) Request

One tool that many SSDI attorneys use that can really speed up the claims process, but which most people outside of the legal profession don't know about, is the On The Record (OTR) Request. An OTR Request is submitted after an initial claim has been denied. Essentially, an OTR Request is granted when the medical evidence for the disability is very strong. An attorney can file medical records on behalf of his or her client detailing the severity of the claimant's disability. If the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) agrees with the attorney's assessment, then the hearing can be skipped and the claim granted right away.

Fast tracking serious cases

Another program that can help claimants fast track their case is the Compassionate Allowance (CAL) program. CAL is reserved for claimants who are suffering from conditions that are either terminal or so obviously severe that there is no need to hold a hearing to determine their eligibility. While the list of CAL-approved conditions is long, some diseases that are included are ALS (i.e., Lou Gehrig's disease), many types of cancer, and numerous heart and brain conditions.

Getting help with a claim

SSDI is a lifeline for millions of Americans, but not having an attorney on hand to help file an initial claim or with the appeals process can lead to a seemingly endless wait for a hearing. The best thing that disability claimants can do is to talk to an attorney about their case as soon as possible. SSDI claims are notoriously complex, which is why a knowledgeable attorney is best situated to guide clients through their claim faster and more efficiently.