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What are “critical” cases for SSD benefits?

On Behalf of | May 9, 2018 | Firm News, Social Security Disability

Much is said about how long it takes for the Social Security Administration to review a Social Security Disability benefits application and Colorado residents planning on applying may hesitate to do so because they are afraid it might take too long to be approved. However, there are certain instances in which an SSD application can be expedited. If the SSA comes across such a claim, they are required to accept or deny it more quickly than usual.

When the claimant’s illness has been categorized as terminal, that is, irreversible, untreatable and expected to end in death, their case is considered “critical.” However, just because someone’s case is deemed terminal, it doesn’t mean their application will automatically be accepted. An adjudicator still needs to evaluate the application. Similarly, when the claimant is in dire need of assistance, their claim will be expedited. Dire need situations are considered to exist when the claimant is unable to obtain food and lacks shelter, and lacks medicine or medical care and is unable to obtain it. in this situation, absent evidence to the contrary, when SSA employees encounter a claim that a person is without resources to meet an immediate threat to health and safety, they will err on the side of designating the claim as critical.

If the claimant is a current or former member of the military service who suffered a serious injury or wound and is alleging a physical or mental impairment regardless of where or how the impairment occurred, and the impairment occurred while on active duty after October 1, 2001, their case will be considered critical.

What happens if a case is considered critical? The employees who initially screen files will bring potentially critical cases to the relevant authority’s attention and they will evaluate it to make the required decision. This is why it is essential to understand the criteria of critical conditions to expedite a claim and if the claim falls within it or not.

Practice Areas


Social Security
Disability (SSD)

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