You should be aware of the ways a disability case can be resolved more quickly under Social Security regulations, rules, and internal practices.
1. Disability case dire need or critical case circumstances
You may not know that there are rules allowing some disability cases to qualify for priority consideration. The SSA has issued internal guidance to Judges and others telling them which cases get priority (HALLEX I-2-1 40). These guidelines include consideration of a person’s circumstances, such as bankruptcy, eviction, lack of money for medical care and medicine, etc. You should review these provisions with your attorney to see if you qualify.
2. Compassionate allowances
This is usually done at the initial and reconsideration stages. Compassionate Allowances (CAL) are a way of quickly identifying diseases and other medical conditions that invariably qualify under the Listing of Impairments based on minimal objective medical information. Compassionate Allowances is designed to target the most obviously disabled individuals for allowances based on objective medical information that can be obtained quickly. There is a list of conditions that will qualify for this consideration when the medical record establishes that the condition exists at the required severity level. Your attorney should review your disability case and perhaps discuss it with your doctor to see if this exception is appropriate.
3. Favorable disability case decision on the record (OTR)
SSA may grant favorable decisions on the record. This means you don’t have to wait for a hearing! Senior attorneys are allowed to make these rulings, and a Judge can always do it if he/she thinks the evidence supports it. A request for OTR should be submitted by your attorney with supporting argument and evidence in appropriate cases.
4. Keep control of your disability case
SSA is an electronic environment now and the work force is set up to process cases that way. The good news is you or your attorney can track your case easily. The bad news is if you do not pay attention a disability case can be put in a wrong category and may linger. So, the bottom line is — pay attention to the case and respond in a timely manner to all SSA requests. If you think your case has been put in a wrong category, your attorney should contact the responsible case technician or group supervisor and ask them to look into it. Remember — an SSA employee deals with thousands of cases and a certain number of mistakes are going to be made, so you and your attorney need to make sure you are not lost in the shuffle!