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What can an attorney do to speed up my disability appeal?

Many Detroit residents, particularly those who are either applying for disability or thinking about doing so, have probably heard the news about notoriously long waiting times should they need to take an appeal of their application for disability to an Administrative Law Judge.

The wait time may leave many in the midst of Social Security disability appeals feeling discouraged and helpless, as they really do need the money but cannot get it until their application gets approved.

There is only so much even the best Social Security attorney can do to speed up the process, as there are no special favors, and, to a large extent, the process takes the time it takes and is largely outside the control of either a disabled Michigan resident or his or her attorney.

However, there are a couple of tactics an attorney can use in order to help his or her client get through an appeal faster. There is no guarantee of a faster result, however, and the tactics are aimed only at getting a quicker decision, not necessarily the decision the disabled person wants.

For one, an attorney can write a dire need letter on behalf of the person seeking benefits. If the letter succeeds in persuading the Social Security Administration that, without getting a decision one way or the other, the applicant could lose his or her home or not be able to afford necessary medical care, then the Administration may put the appeal on a fast track.

Another option is to ask the Administrative Law Judge to review the case "on the record," meaning the person seeking benefits will not actually get to speak to the judge. Rather, the judge will make a decision just on the evidence and medical paperwork that has been submitted to that point. While this no doubt speeds things up, the downside is the judge may make an unfavorable decision without hearing the whole story.

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