In recent years, the Social Security Administration has gotten better about reviewing cases that meet its criteria for dire need.
These are typically cases where a claimant has been diagnosed with a terminal illness or is facing homelessness.
In these situations, cases are quickly reviewed by SSA staff, or if a hearing has been scheduled, it is sometimes possible to get a brief to a judge ahead of time so that a case can be awarded without a hearing.
But sometimes, cases are scheduled for hearing and a claimant is in a tough spot, but doesn’t quite meet Social Security’s strict dire need requirements.
For example, a claimant may have a hearing scheduled in four months, and while they haven’t been evicted, they are a couple months behind on rent and likely will be homeless by the time the hearing rolls around.
Unfortunately, the options in this kind of scenario are fairly limited.
Your attorney can write a letter the administrative law judge explaining the situation, waiving the requirement that Social Security provide you with 75 days notice prior the hearing, and requesting a hearing date if anything opens up.
However, the decision to grant this motion is entirely up to the discretion of the judge. And even if the judge wants to move up the hearing, it can be almost impossible to find another date that works for the judge, attorney, and the vocational expert who will also testify at the hearing.
Of course, it never hurts to ask. Sometimes hearings can be moved up, but in my experience, it’s an extremely rare occurrence.