The Social Security Administration can move quickly in certain circumstances. One such circumstance is a dire need case. Dire need is a type of critical case, and these claims are expedited by the SSA.
In this particular case, the claimant received a Reconsideration denial letter on February 27th and contacted me. We had our initial meeting the next day. At that meeting, she told me that her home was under foreclosure. She has been unable to work for well over a year, and had fallen behind on the mortgage payments. I asked her to provide me with documentation regarding the foreclosure action.
I received the documentation on March 3rd, and filed a request for hearing and a dire need request that day. Miss Martin of the Saco Social Security field office processed the request for hearing that very afternoon. The claim also received expedited treatment from the Portland Social Security hearing office, and a hearing was quickly scheduled for today, April 2nd. I attended along with the claimant, who testified.
At the end of the hearing, the judge took the extra time required to prepare a bench decision granting the claim.
Just 5 weeks passed from the day the claimant received the Reconsideration denial to the date of a fully favorable decision. That is an outstanding performance by the local Social Security office and by the Portland, Maine hearing office (particularly the United States Administrative Law Judge who heard the case and issued a bench decision).
This is just the way the Social Security process should operate.