There have been many stories in the national news circulating recently about how long people in Stockton, California and other parts of the country are having to wait in order to have their denied claims for disability benefits under the SSDI program reviewed by an administrative law judge who has the power to overturn the denial.
Just on account of the way the system works, many people will wind up needing to ask for a review before an administrative law judge, which means a long wait. While no technique is guaranteed to speed up the wait process, there are certain things a person, usually through a disability attorney, can do in the hopes that they can get the appeal process to move along a little bit faster.
The first option is to submit what is called a dire need letter. Basically, a disability attorney can write a letter on a client's behalf explaining that, without a quick hearing, the client is going to lose his or her home or is going to wind up without necessary medical care. If successful, the letter will move a person to the top of the stack of pending applications that need to be set for a hearing. It is, however, important that if one is claiming a dire need, one back that claim up with proof of specific circumstances that are clearly difficult and pressing.
The other option is to ask the administrative law judge to hear the case on the record, meaning that the person seeking disability will not have the opportunity to go in and tell the judge his or her story. Instead, the judge will look at all the documents presented and make a decision. As a word of caution, though, this can backfire if it turns out the judge does not see enough documentary evidence to award benefits.