Do You Need a Dire Need Letter?

Those who have applied for Social Security disability can experience delays in the claim process. This can create a critical situation. For the most part, an applicant’s financial situation won’t change the pace at which a case is processed. However, if you are waiting for a hearing to be scheduled, there are situations where you can get the hearing expedited by submitting what we call a dire need letter.

If someone is in a dire need situation, they can request that their case expedited. This means that their case with the Social Security Administration (SSA) may be processed more quickly than normal. Many people mistake a dire need situation for a lack of income, but they are not the same. Read below to see if your situation qualifies for a dire need letter.

How Does a Dire Need Letter Work?

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If you are waiting for a hearing with an administrative law judge (ALJ), a dire need letter can help speed up that process. A dire need letter, also called a hardship letter, explains why your case should be processed more quickly than other cases filed at the same time. This could be due to adverse financial or health consequences. The letter will go to the Social Security Administration (SSA) for review. The SSA may process it as an urgent situation based on the information and evidence that is presented to them.

Unfortunately, the normal wait time for a hearing can be anywhere from 18 months to two years. Therefore, the SSA often receives many hardship letters. Some reasons for a dire need can include being in danger of becoming homeless, and/or not receiving proper medical care. Submitting a hardship letter does not guarantee that the process will move more quickly. Keep in mind that every office is different and the processing time for the letter might not be any quicker than the typical SSA application.

How to Write a Letter

If you believe that your current situation has become critical, then a dire need letter may work in your favor. When writing your letter, make sure to share as much information about your current situation as possible. Explain why you consider it a dire need situation. Be sure to give details about why your situation is dire. Also, describe what you believe might happen if you are not approved quickly for assistance. Such as an eviction, not receiving your medication for a health condition, or other events.

Along with your letter, be sure to include proof to support your claim as well. This means including proper documentation. Examples of documentation you may want to include are a doctor’s prognosis, military discharge papers, medical bills, etc. Include anything that can back up your claim. This can help your case. Keep in mind that doctors can be a driving force in the disability benefits process.

Again, submitting a dire need letter doesn’t mean the process will be quicker. It is important to make write a convincing letter. If you are considering filing a dire need letter, Disability Support Services is here to help. Not sure where to start? Fill out our form or call one of our advocates (410-244-0006) to begin the process. Also, learn more about frequently asked questions on our blog.