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What can be done to speed up the appeals process?


As previous this blog have discussed, the Social Security Administration is currently facing an unprecedented backlog of cases where people in the Kissimmee, Florida, area and throughout the country who have been denied Social Security are awaiting a chance to have their cases reviewed by an administrative law judge. This wait can go on for months or even years, and many people wind up dying before they get Social Security Disability benefits.

To some extent, the backlog is a problem only Congress and the Social Security Administration can fix, and until they do so, the time it takes to get a hearing on appeal will not change much. However, there are a couple of things that a person who is waiting for an appeal can do which may shorten the wait time, although neither of these techniques is guaranteed to do so. Usually, people employ these techniques with the help of an experienced Social Security attorney.

One of the things an attorney can do is request that an administrative law judge hear the client's case on the record, which means that the judge will not hold a hearing at all but will instead simply read over the documents provided to that point in the case and make a decision. While this no doubt saves time, asking for a review on the record carries with it some risk. For example, a person may wind up trying to take this shortcut but instead having the judge deny benefits altogether because the judge did not have a chance to hear the person's side of the story.

Another thing a person can do, usually at less risk to one's case, is submit a dire need letter documenting how, if a person does not get a hearing soon, he or she will be unable to afford necessary medical care or may even lose his or her home. Not all "dire need" letters are accepted, but those that are allow people who require the assistance to move to the head of the waiting line to get a decision.

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