How to Get a Social Security Disability Hearing Scheduled Faster

Writing a letter to Social Security or your congressperson can speed up your hearing date.

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Getting your Social Security disability hearing scheduled faster can be somewhat difficult. However, there are at least a couple of ways to potentially do this.

Dire Need

The first way to potentially speed up your disability hearing is to send a dire need letter. In a dire need letter, an SSD or SSI disability claimant points out the severity of their financial circumstances. In many instances where an individual is in danger of losing access to needed medications, or in danger of eviction or foreclosure, the Office of Adjudication and Review (ODAR, formerly known as the Office of Hearings and Appeals) may choose to expedite an ALJ disability hearing.

Claimants whose situations are especially precarious should draft a detailed dire need letter and forward this to the ODAR where their hearing is waiting to be scheduled. Attach evidence of your dire situation to this letter, such as copies of late notices from landlords, mortgage companies, and utilities providers. For more information, see our article on dire need letters.

Congressional Inquiry

Another way to potentially expedite a disability hearing is to contact the office of a local congressman or senator. This will launch what is referred to as a congressional inquiry. Such inquiries typically involve a congressional staff member either calling or writing the hearing office on a Social Security claimant's behalf.

Congressional inquiries often have mixed results. But they never hurt a case, and, typically, if they benefit a case, it is at the hearing request level. In other words, a congressional inquiry might get you a hearing scheduled in a few months rather than a year.

On the Record Review

A Social Security disability or SSI case for which a hearing has been requested can also be expedited by requesting what is known as an on-the-record (OTR) review. In an OTR review, the claimant or the claimant's representative simply requests that the hearing office review the claimant's file, or record, prior to a hearing date.

The desired outcome of such a review is that the claimant's case will be approved without the necessity of waiting for and holding a hearing. But for an on-the-record review to be granted, a claimant's medical evidence must be particularly compelling. In many instances, disability attorneys or non-attorney representatives will not even consider requesting an OTR review unless a claimant's condition has significantly worsened and this can be supported by medical evidence. For more information, see our article about OTR reviews.

Attorney Advisor Opinions

For certain types of cases, you can request that an attorney advisor (instead of an ALJ) looks at your records and makes a decision on your benefits before your hearing takes place. For more information, see our article on attorney advisor opinions.

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