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Will my claim for SSDI be designated as critical?

If you or a loved one is struggling with a debilitating physical or mental health condition, there is no doubt that you and your family are very worried about the future. People in this situation are typically scared, nervous and stressed out by the financial, emotional and physical implications of a serious illness or injury. Most people would certainly consider their situation critical and pursue disability benefits.

Unfortunately, the Social Security Administration doesn't always consider a case critical in the same way. In fact, the agency only considers a case critical when specific criteria have been met by the applicant. There are only six situations in which the SSA will categorize a claim as critical.

In order to be designated as critical, an applicant's claim must involve:

  • Terminal illness
  • 100 percent permanent and total disability as determined by the Department of Veterans Affairs (Veteran 100 Percent Permanent and Total)
  • An impairing illness or injury that has been suffered by a military member while on active duty (Military Casualty/Wounded Warrior classification)
  • A condition that appears on the Compassionate Allowances Listing of Impairments
  • A dire need, like lack of food, shelter or medical care
  • Potential for violent behaviors on the part of the applicant

In the event that your claim involves any of these factors, the SSA will typically consider it to be a critical claim. It is important that your application includes supporting information that will help SSA employees identify the factors that would justify the critical filing.

When the SSA does designate a claim as critical, the claim will go through a different evaluation process that can get applicants the answers they need more quickly, so it can be quite beneficial for applicants to have their claim classified as critical. In a future post, we will explore the steps taken by SSA when processing critical claims.

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