Deciding to seek financial assistance through the Social Security Administration is not an easy choice. It involves coming to the realization that your condition is severe enough that you can no longer work and that you may be dealing with the symptoms for at least a year, perhaps for the rest of your life. However, if you are already unable to work and have accumulated a pile of medical bills, you certainly can use the assistance SSA disability benefits offer.
Like any government program, qualifying and receiving your payments is a notoriously long process. The approval process can take months, and if the SSA denies your application — which they often do on the first try — you will have an even longer wait while you appeal. After approval, there is a mandatory five-month waiting period before your payments begin. However, under certain circumstances, you may qualify to have your approval fast tracked.
Do you qualify for fast-track approval?
Under the SSA’s compassionate allowance program, some applications can receive expedited attention during the screening process. A special computer program scans applications for keywords that can bump your case to the head of the line. These keywords indicate to SSA agents that your application is likely to gain approval and that your situation may be severe. Other reasons why the SSA may fast-track your application include these:
- You have received a terminal diagnosis, such as the final stages of cancer or a move to hospice care.
- You qualify for benefits and are at risk of becoming homeless.
- You have had a child with low birth weight.
- You have a presumptive disability, such as blindness, HIV/AIDS or amputation of a limb.
- You are a veteran who suffered a disabling injury while on active duty.
While any of these situations may qualify you for expedited approval, you will still have to wait the required five months before you begin receiving your benefits. However, fast tracking the approval moves that date months closer than if you had to wait out the entire process.
To obtain expedited approval, your application must be thorough and complete. Any missing documentation may instead cause a delay you cannot afford. Many in your situation find it helpful to reach out for assistance throughout the disability application process. An experienced Florida attorney can guide you through the maze of applying for the benefits you need.