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I recently filed a critical case/dire need request for a client’s claim. A critical case request asks Social Security to expedite a claim at the hearing level. Critical cases are governed by HALLEX I-2-1-40.

Critical cases get priority because they are the most serious claims. There are three situations that constitute critical cases: 1) the claimant’s illness is terminal, 2) there is an indication that the claimant is suicidal or homicidal, and 3) dire need.

Dire need is the most frequent basis for a critical claim request. Dire need is when the claimant is without – and is unable to obtain – food, medicine or shelter. Mere hardship is not enough. The situation must be dire. An imminent eviction, with no financial resources to find new shelter, would certainly qualify.

As shown by critical case request evaluation sheet used by ODAR, documentation of the critical situation is important. I included the claimant’s eviction notice with my recent dire need request.