Fox & Fox Co. L.P.A.
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Is there any way to expedite a disability hearing?

Those in Cincinnati, Ohio, who have any experience with the Social Security Disability program probably know that many people who apply are denied social security at the outset and will have to appeal the Social Security Administration's decision to an administrative law judge.

As has been in the news recently, though, there is a backlog of such cases, and it can take months or even years to get in front of an administrative law judge and then an additional few weeks or months to get a decision. In the meantime, an Ohio resident does not get their monthly benefits thatthey need to stay financially stable.

Although for the most part people need to be aware in advance that the system is notoriously slow, there are some ways to speed up the hearing process, but no technique is absolutely guaranteed to work.

For instance, the Administration will entertain a "dire need" letter spelling out how, if the applicant does not get benefits soon, he or she may lose his or her home or utilities. A person can also claim dire need when he or she will not be able to afford critical medicine with out disability payments.

An applicant's lawyer also can ask for what is called an on-the-record review. Although this gives the judge the option of issuing a decision without a hearing, the risk is that the judge will not get a full picture of the applicant's disability and thus deny a claim that should have been accepted, potentially leaving a deserving person without benefits. Therefore, a lawyer would only use this tactic if he or she feels the disabled person's case is especially strong from a legal standpoint.

Something short of an on-the-record review, called a request for a bench decision, requires a hearing but allows a judge to make a simple decision without having to write a long opinion.

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