If you are suffering from a disability and are unable to work, the amount of time spent waiting to be approved for benefits can be a nightmare. Many clients ask me how they are supposed to get by while they wait to get in front of a judge or wait for the judge to issue a decision. There is not a good answer to this question, as there is often little that can be done in order to expedite the process. However, in certain situations you may be able to successfully ask for expedited consideration of your claim due to financial problems. If you are in the process of being evicted or foreclosed upon, you should send evidence of these proceeding to your Social Security disability attorney’s office. Your attorney can send copies of this documentation to the Social Security Administration along with a request that your claim be expedited. If the Social Security Administration finds good cause to expedite your claim, you will be able to get before a judge to hear your case somewhat sooner. Unfortunately, the Social Security Administration is often unwilling to grant such requests-likely because so many people find themselves in this boat. For this reason, it is important to be able to provide documentation of the specific hardship(s) you are experiencing.
While it is possible to ask that your hearing be moved up because of your hardships, there is not a mechanism for moving your decision along after you have attended your hearing. Typically, judges do not issue a decision at the hearing. Instead, a lengthy written decision will arrive in the mail in approximately three (3) months. Your judge will make his or her decision based off of the medical evidence and your testimony. They will not be able to consider your financial need in assessing your claim.
If you find yourself in a situation where you are facing eviction or foreclosure, it is important to remember that you have legal rights. It is a good idea to talk to an experienced attorney that practices landlord-tenant law or defends clients in foreclosure actions. If you meet income eligibility guidelines, you may be able to receive help from a legal aid organization.