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How Does SSA Define “Dire Need?”

by | Jan 3, 2017 | SSD - Social Security Disability Process And Benefits |

The average waiting period for a hearing after a request for a hearing has been filed is 12-18 months. The wait time can vary depending on what state you live in but most states have at least a 12 month wait time. This is a very long time to wait . The wait time exists for several reasons, including a shortage of administrative law judges to hear cases.

One of the ways to get a hearing expedited is to request that the hearing be scheduled quickly because you are facing dire financial need. However, there are specific requirements that the court requires a claimant provide to be classified as a dire need case. According to the court rules “a dire need situation exists when a claimant alleges any of the following circumstances: a claimant is without food and unable to obtain it. The claimant lacks medicine or medical care and is unable to obtain it, or the claimant indicates that access to necessary medical care is restricted because of lack of resources. The claimant lacks shelter (which can include being without utilities, being homeless or imminent eviction or foreclosure).”

Evidence that you can submit to prove that you are experiencing dire need include: a statement from a homeless shelter that you are staying there and will soon have to leave, an eviction notice or foreclosure notice, or a shutoff notice of water, electricity, or heat. Or if you do not have insurance and cannot obtain insurance and are unable to go to the doctor or obtain your medications, that is another way to show that you are experiencing dire need.

Dire need does not include having past due car payments, past due car insurance, past due cell phone bills or cable bills or credit cards. It is true that the court does err on the side of designating the case a critical if you are able to show that you are in danger of losing your home or utilities. 


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