What is a Social Security critical claim
Getting a hearing in front of an Administrative Law Judge for your Social Security claim can take a long time. The average wait in Denver, from the time you submit a request for hearing to the time you get one, is 12 months. However, in certain, very specific situations, you may be able to get in to a judge sooner. If your Social Security claim falls into one of the six “critical claim,” categories, it will get expedited processing by Social Security:
- You have a terminal illness as Social Security defines it under POMS: DI 11005.601.
- You were injured while in the military and on active duty (October 1, 2001, or later).
- Your case qualifies under the “compassionate allowance” (CAL) initiative. CAL designation is for applicants whose medical conditions are so severe that their conditions obviously meet Social Security's definition of disability. The list of conditions that will qualify for compassionate allowance status can be found at: http://www.ssa.gov/compassionateallowances/conditions.htm
- You have a “dire need,” meaning you are without—and unable to obtain—food, medicine, or shelter.
- There is an indication you are suicidal or homicidal.
- The case has been delayed an inordinate amount of time and there is a public, congressional, or other high priority inquiry on the case.
HALLEX I-2-1-40 and I-3-1-51.
Social Security may identify your Social Security case as critical claim on its own accord. But some cases go undetected and you may have to request critical case designation yourself. To do this, tell the hearing you believe your case is critical claim and be able to explain which of the above categories best describes you. Or you may hire a Social Security disability attorney represent you and write a letter requesting critical case designation. It is important to note that relatively few cases will qualify. But for those that do, critical claim designation can help cut through red tape and get a hearing scheduled faster.