The Social Security Administration (SSA) is well aware of how incredibly long it takes to schedule a hearing for someone asserting disability. Disability applicants often have to wait a year and a half for this hearing, even while their funds are disappearing, they are hurting, and bills are stacking up. There is no doubt in our mind that SSA needs more of a budget to employ more judges and staff to reduce the terribly long wait time for these hearings. Many applicants will win, showing that the SSA was in error for denying these people disability benefits and unnecessarily causing these hardships.
Social Security has a program to get a quicker hearing date called “Dire Need.” This dire need program is designed to expedite a hearing if a claimant cannot obtain food or food assistance, get medical care, or is homeless.
The regulation states:
Dire Need Case (DRND)A dire need situation exists when a claimant alleges any of the following circumstances:
- The claimant is without food and is 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 a lack of resources.
- The claimant lacks shelter (e.g., without utilities such that his or her home is uninhabitable, homelessness, expiration of a shelter stay, or imminent eviction or foreclosure with no means to remedy the situation or obtain shelter).
- Absent evidence to the contrary, accept a person’s allegation that he or she does not have enough income or resources to meet an immediate threat to his or her health or safety. OHO employees will err on the side of designating the case critical. If a dire need situation becomes non-critical, the critical designation can be removed or modified.
You may qualify for a dire need proceeding, especially if you are homeless or about to be evicted. Margolius, Margolius, and Associates recognizes the tragedy if your housing is in jeopardy when your social security claim is being wrongfully denied. Call us if you are in a dire need situation to explore your options.