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How the SSA processes critical claims

In our last post, we discussed the fact that certain claims for Social Security disability benefits are considered critical by the Social Security Administration. This essentially means that people who meet the appropriate criteria will have their claims processed and handled much more quickly, given the critical nature of their need for benefits.

In this post, we will discuss how a critical claim is processed in order to give readers a better idea of how the system works.

After a person has submitted an application for benefits, an SSA employee screening the applications will pull out any potentially critical cases, complete an evaluation document for each one and flag the claim under one of the six categories we discussed in our last blog post.

The critical claim will be assigned a start date, and a visit or call with the applicant will be scheduled.

The application will then be reviewed by a management employee and in many cases, an on-the-record decision will be made. This is a way for critical cases to get an expedited decision. In some cases, however, a hearing will be necessary.

In the event that a hearing must be completed, it will be scheduled at the earliest opportunity after all relevant parties have come to an agreement. In some cases, the hearing could be scheduled in under 20 days.

At the hearing, a determination will be made regarding whether a critical claim for benefits will be approved. In some cases, unfortunately, the claim is denied and an appeal needs to be filed.

Either way, an applicant should have an answer regarding their benefits much more quickly than people who do not have critical claims. This is because the needs of the critical applicants are typically much more immediate and dire and they may not have time to wait weeks, months or longer just to get answer on whether they qualify for benefits.

Applicants can further speed the process along by submitting a complete, thorough and accurate application to the SSA to avoid delays stemming from administrative issues. Working through the application process with the help of an attorney can be a good way to minimize the potential for these problems.

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