A notebook with social security disability benefits word written.
A social security disability form and a social security card

Some Social Security disability applicants who need benefits right away may be able to significantly reduce long wait times by submitting a dire needs request. SSDI processing can take years in many cases. If an individual is out of work and incapable of going back to work because of a disability, this can result in a financially difficult situation.

What Exactly Is an SSDI Dire Need Request?

Dire need requests, also known as dire need letters (DNLs), enable certain individuals to expedite the processing of SSDI claims.

Including as much information as possible for the SSA to consider the request can hasten the process. If an SSDI applicant would like to make a dire need request, he or she will be required to adhere to the format of a DNL and prove that he or she is in dire need of expedited processing. Otherwise, without sufficient details regarding the severity of the individual’s circumstances, the SSA won’t likely approve the request.

What Does the SSA Consider Dire Needs?

The biggest reason why many dire need requests are approved is due to the inevitability of homelessness without a faster approval time. If an individual is about to be evicted from his or her home or rental property, the SSA will be more likely to approve a DNL.

The SSA may also approve DNLs if an applicant is unable to pay for utilities before they’re shut off or if they are unable to afford necessary medical care or treatment.

Injured veterans may also receive approval, but these cases will depend on when service members were injured and their current status at the time of submitting the request.

When Is It Possible to Submit a Dire Needs Request?

Individuals can typically only submit a dire need request before a scheduled hearing with an administrative law judge. If the submission is approved, the hearing will be scheduled ahead of others who aren’t considered to be in dire need of an expedited hearing.

However, regardless of the severity of an applicant’s circumstances, the dire need request can’t assist with the expediting of reviews for initial applications, nor can it help with any request for reconsideration appeals.