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Approaches to speed up disability decisions by citing dire need

An applicant in West Virginia pursuing Social Security Disability benefits might have grounds to submit a dire need request when threatened by the loss of a home. The expected shutoff of utilities or an inability to purchase medicine might also qualify as a dire need. People with disability claims pending at the hearing level could benefit from submitting a dire need request. If the agency finds the request to have merit, then a hearing for the applicant might be scheduled as soon as possible ahead of other cases.

The hearing level stage offers additional opportunities to receive an expedited response to a claim that might shave months off a wait period. An applicant or a representative for the person could prepare a request known as an on-the-record review. This letter presents evidence about the person's disability and asks the hearing office to issue an immediate decision without taking time to conduct a hearing.

Another approach involves writing a hearing brief for an administrative law judge and requesting a bench decision. A hearing brief that contains enough detail might result in a bench decision, which is a much shorter document than a formal written decision after a full hearing.

A person disabled to an extent that prevents gainful employment has the right to work with an attorney when preparing a claim for Social Security Disability. An attorney may assist a person from the first step or provide representation later in the process if the person receives a denial. Services available from an attorney might include paperwork preparation, organization of medical records and scheduling of medical and vocational assessments. An attorney may also be able to handle communications with the Social Security Administration and present evidence at a hearing.

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Shawn Taylor, PLLC
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Charleston, WV 25301

Phone: 304-932-4619
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