How to Speed Up the Disability Process

When you’re unable to work due to a long-term medical condition, you may apply for disability.

But with the application process taking several months, the wait for benefits approval can be difficult and frustrating. Fortunately, there are things that you can do to speed up the disability process and receive your benefits.

Pekas Smith: Arizona Disability Attorneys explains how to speed up the disability process.

Steps to Speed Up the Disability Process

1. Apply at the Right Time

Generally, you should apply for disability as soon as you’re disabled. There is a five-month waiting period, and claims can take several months to process. However, you must have a disability that will last for at least 12 months or that is likely to result in death and must have medical documentation to prove your impairment. Usually, it’s best to apply as soon as you meet the medical criteria to make a successful application.

2. Make Sure Your Application is Complete

A Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) application needs to be thorough. You need your birth certificate, proof of citizenship or legal status, employment information, and medical records. Form SSA-3368-BK, Disability Report – Adult details your medical conditions and work activity. If the necessary information for your application is missing, it may result in a delay or denial of your claim.

3. Submit the Correct Medical Information

A determining factor in any SSDI application is whether the person meets the criteria for being disabled. An applicant may meet or equal a listing in the Social Security Listing of Impairments.

They may show that their residual functional capacity prohibits employment. The listings detail the medical information that claims examiners need to see to approve an application. Gathering the medical evidence to support your application can help claims examiners make a quick decision in your favor.

4. Answer Requests for Information

When reviewing an application, examiners may decide they need more information. If they request additional information, answering promptly can speed up the disability process. Be sure to check your application status regularly and keep your personal information updated.

5. File Your Appeals on Time

If you need to appeal your initial determination, you have 60 days. Filing your appeal on time keeps the disability process moving forward. Understand what issue you are appealing, whether it is your eligibility, determination of disability, or the amount of payment. Make sure your appeal addresses the important issues.

6. Request a Prehearing Case Review

It may be possible to speed up the disability process by asking for a favorable decision without a hearing. A prehearing case review allows you to submit additional evidence, correct an error, or point to a law or regulation change. The potential outcome of a prehearing case review is a summary decision in your favor. If the review is unsuccessful, the case continues to a hearing.

7. Get a Decision on the Record

A decision on the record takes place without a hearing – it’s based on the application record and you may submit a brief in support. Submitting a request for a decision on the record, along with a discussion of how you meet a listing, may result in not having to wait for a hearing. If your case is approved on the record, you won’t have to wait for a hearing, testify, or prepare evidence.

8. Attorney Advisor Opinion

An attorney advisor may conduct prehearing proceedings regarding a disability application.

Prehearing proceedings may be appropriate if there is a law or regulation change, new evidence, or clerical errors. The attorney may issue a fully favorable decision. Prehearing proceedings won’t delay a hearing; however, if you get a favorable decision, it speeds up the disability process.

9. Terminal Illnesses

A terminal illness is untreatable and expected to end in death. Cases with a terminal illness (TERI) designation are expedited. TERI cases are tracked and periodically reviewed to ensure fast processing. To speed up your application, reference one of the recognized descriptors used to flag terminal illness applications.

10. Compassionate Allowance

If you have a disability that meets the criteria for compassionate allowance, you may also speed up the disability process. Certain cancers, brain disorders, and rare medical conditions may qualify. Understanding what disabilities qualify and preparing your application for compassionate allowance approval can shorten the time it takes to receive your benefits.

11. Quick Disability Determination (QDD)

Where an applicant is likely qualified and medical evidence is readily available, the case may move to Quick Disability Determination (QDD). The QDD system is a computer model that flags cases that are likely to be approved. There are certain keywords and medical conditions that can send a case to the QDD system. If your case is flagged, it may speed up the disability process.

12. Dire Need

Dire need exists when an applicant lacks food, medicine, or shelter, and they have no way to remedy the situation. When you meet the standards for dire need, including homelessness, fleeing domestic violence, or young adults aging out of foster care, submitting this information may result in the application being flagged for expedited review.

13. Veteran

If an applicant is a veteran with a 100% permanent and total (P&T) disability rating from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), critical case procedures don’t apply. The claim receives expedited processing. If you qualify, submitting a VA notification letter verifying your 100% P&T rating can speed up the disability process.

14. Military Casualty, Wounded Warrior

You may also receive expedited processing if you are a wounded warrior with a physical or mental impairment sustained while on active duty status. Wounded warrior cases are prioritized.

As an applicant, it’s important to keep your address up to date and submit your DD Form 214 to verify your military service.

15. Presumptive Disability for SSI Applicants

SSI applicants who are highly likely to qualify for benefits may receive presumptive payments while their application is pending. Qualifying by presumptive disability can result in faster approval.

16. Legal Representation

Having legal representation can speed up the disability process.

Pekas Smith: Arizona Disability Attorneys help people get and keep their disability benefits.

Contact us now.

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