You sent in your appeal paperwork for Social Security disability weeks ago, but you haven’t heard anything back. You have heard it can take a long time to get a hearing scheduled, but you don’t know how much time you can spare. Your landlord is threatening to throw you out, bill collectors are coming after you for unpaid medical bills—and now the phone company has sent you a shutoff notice. How are you supposed to wait for a trial if you cannot pay your bills without a disability payment?

Do You Qualify for Social Security Disability Due to Dire Need?

dire need letterMany Social Security applicants will face hard financial times as they wait for their appeal to be heard in front of a judge. However, some applicants will face such financial hardship that they may be homeless by the time their hearing is scheduled. In these cases, applicants may attempt to get their hearings scheduled faster by writing a "dire need" letter. This letter outlines the reasons why an applicant should not be expected to wait the usual amount of time for a hearing to be scheduled, including:

  • Housing issues. Dire need is generally present when a person begins to run out of the resources to pay his or her bills. If you are making your bill payments on time, you will likely not qualify. However, if you have been unable to make regular payments for a few months or have stopped paying other bills to keep your utilities on, explain this in your letter. If you have sold or defaulted on your car in order to make house payments, include this information. Above all, if you are facing eviction for non-payment of rent, make sure this is at the beginning of your letter.
  • Medical problems. You do not need to go into detail about your disability in this letter; the Social Security Association has that information already. But if your condition requires regular hospital visits and prescription medication that you can no longer afford, you may qualify for dire need.
  • Evidence. In addition to explaining your situation, you will have to provide evidence to back up your claims. Attaching documents such as copies of eviction notices, past due letters, letters from collection agencies, and foreclosure warnings will give your letter more weight.

Get Help Writing a SSD Dire Need Letter

Applicants should be aware that hardship alone is not enough to expedite a hearing. In most cases, a dire need letter must be able to show an unavoidable circumstance that will likely happen if their case is not heard quickly, such as home foreclosure or worsening health condition. If you do not qualify for a dire need exemption, there are other ways to get your benefits approved more quickly. Click the contact link on this page to have us investigate your disability claim and explain your options to you. Your contact with us is free, and you owe us nothing unless we win your case.


Manfred Ricciardelli
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Morristown Workers' Compensation Lawyer