Social Security Disability Claims 101: What Is a Hardship Letter?

woman caring for a person with disability

Social Security disability applicants more often than not are under “dire need” circumstances primarily because of delays in the SSD claims process. In general, the financial situation of claimants won’t have any influence on how long their claims will be processed by SS. But if you have been patiently waiting to be scheduled a hearing with the administrative law judge, you might be able to get it expedited if you submit a compelling dire need letter, also known as a hardship letter.

What Exactly Is a Hardship Letter and What Does It Do?

A hardship letter should detail why waiting for a disability hearing might result in dire financial effects for you. This is important because the normal waiting time can reach up to a year or two. In most instances, a dire need or hardship can be in the form of an apartment eviction, home foreclosure, and/or inability to pay off utilities and other bills, purchase required medicines, or obtain medical treatment.

How to Write a Compelling Hardship Letter

old woman writing on a piece of paper

As the claimant, you must write the hardship letter, and not a family member, friend, or representative. In general, hardship letters that SS reviewers give attention to the most are those that are very thorough and detailed. With that said, your letter must spell out specific details that will easily and thoroughly explain why you are in a dire financial situation. You can consider looking for a disability insurance lawyer in Los Angeles if you’re not confident that your letter will do your financial situation justice.

Specific Details to Include in Your Hardship Letter

In the event that you are having issues with your housing situation because you can’t pay the rent or mortgage, prioritize this issue. If you can’t obtain hospital or clinical treatment, buy medications, or pay crucial expenses such as utility bills, make sure to include all these in your letter. Keep in mind that when writing, the more details you can provide, the better. It’s also vital to note that the most effective letters are those with ample documentation. Important documentation includes eviction threats, notices of last due bills, foreclosure proceedings, as well as doctor’s recommendations for specific treatments and therapies that you need.

Will a Hardship Letter Work to Expedite My Social Security Disability Claim?

Generally speaking, if you write an extremely compelling and detailed hardship letter and the right individual receives it at the right time, there’s a chance that the SS administration will expedite your disability hearing. It is, however, crucial to note that even if you’ve been granted an expedited hearing, you might still need to wait a couple of months (instead of a year or two) for your hearing date.

Writing a hardship letter is worth it since it can really help you out. In the majority of cases, taking a couple of months off your waiting time to be scheduled a hearing could mean the difference between being capable of weathering the arduous claims process and losing what you have managed to accumulate before you become disabled.

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