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Individuals can receive expedited processing of their Social Security disability claims if they meet certain criteria set forth by the Social Security Administration (SSA). There are currently five categories of claims that receive priority processing from the SSA.

Critical Claims Categories

The following claims categories are considered critical claims under the Social Security Disability Program. As such, these claims must be approved or denied faster than the usual claims processing period. These include:

  • Dire Need Claims. These cases include those where the individual cannot purchase medical care, food, or shelter.
  • Claims Where Safety is at Issue. If the claimant is suicidal or holds homicidal intent against family, friends, physicians, etc, his or her claim may receive expedited processing.
  • Compassionate Allowance Illnesses. Conditions that qualify include several forms of cancer, Lou Gehrig’s Disease (ALS), dementia, etc. In all, there are 165 qualifying medical conditions within this category. Victims with these conditions could receive approval in as little as ten days.
  • Terminal Illnesses. Individuals diagnosed with terminal illnesses such as AIDS, cancer, etc. can have the claim expedited.
  • Military Personnel. Individuals whose injury or illness began while they were on active duty on or after October 1, 2001, may qualify for expedited claims processing.

Expediting Terminal Cases

Terminal cases are eligible for processing under the Terminal Illness Program (TERI.) Conditions that are eligible include cancer, mesothelioma, leukemia, heart failure, coma, and cases where the patient is awaiting a transplant, etc. Individuals must be able to demonstrate that their diagnosis is likely to result in death in the near future. This information can be provided by the individual, a family member, physician, or friend. The SSA does not mark patient files as TERI cases in deference to the patient’s emotional well-being. However, a field agent or claims examiner with SSA will flag the case for expedited processing without the patient’s knowledge.

Social Security Lawyers Can Help With Expedited Processing

Social Security lawyers can help individuals and their family members prepare the necessary documentation required by the SSA. It is important to contact an attorney who is familiar with the process and can gather, compile, and present the information so that the claim won’t be denied. If a claim is denied, it is necessary to file a request for reconsideration as quickly as possible so that the individual can receive the funds necessary for their medical treatment and living expenses.