If you’re applying for disability benefits, then you should know that you’re facing an uphill battle. Not only will you have to face mountains of paperwork but you also need patience – tons of it.
On average, a disability claims process takes about six months. But depending on your case, it can take up to a couple of years. If you’re disabled and can’t work, those few months or years can seem like an eternity.
Fortunately, the SSA has come up with the Quick Disability Determination (QDD) program.
What is Quick Disability Determination?
The Quick Disability Determination program is SSA’s way of fast-tracking the disability claims process for certain individuals. Under this, the agency can approve disability claims in a matter of days instead of months or years. In fact, the average processing time for QDD cases in 2018 is only 19 days.
Applicants whose medical conditions clearly meet the SSA’s disability criteria can qualify for QDD. Remember that having to prove your disability is one of the agency’s primary criteria for granting benefits.
If your condition qualifies for QDD, then there’s no need to prove that you are too disabled to work. As such, the disability examiner won’t need the opinion of a medical consultant. They can already decide on your case based on the medical records you provided. This helps trim down the processing time from several months to just a month or less.
How to Qualify
There is a wide range of medical conditions that can qualify for quick disability determination. This includes conditions so severe that they clearly meet the SSA’s disability standard. Meaning, they either keep you from working or are expected to result in death. Hospice care can also prompt expedited processing.
If you’re wondering, there’s no need to file a separate application for quick disability determination. The SSA uses a computer algorithm that helps them determine who should be considered for QDD.
For claims submitted online, the algorithm will scan for keywords and phrases that suggest your claim will most likely be approved. This is why describing your medical condition as accurately as possible really matters. If you submitted your application in person, the disability examiner will manually evaluate it.
Aside from your medical condition, the algorithm looks at other factors too. If your application lacks the necessary supporting evidence, it will be treated as a regular claim. The same is also true if your onset date (the date your disability started) is more than a few months ago.
Other Express Processing Programs
Aside from QDD, the SSA also has other programs aimed at fast-tracking applications of eligible claimants.
For instance, applicants whose conditions have progressed to a terminal stage can be considered for fast-track processing. These claims will be processed under the Terminal Illness (TERI) Patients Program.
SSI applicants may also receive benefits for up to 6 months even if their application is yet to be approved. Provided that they have severe physical or mental impairments that qualify as “presumptive disability“.
The SSA also has an expedited processing program called Compassionate Allowances (CAL). It’s aimed for applicants whose conditions are, without a doubt, disabling enough. This includes degenerative diseases, certain cancers, adult brain diseases, and rare genetic disorders.
When Can You Expect Benefit Payments?
If you’re applying for SSDI and qualifies for fast-track processing, you still may not be able to receive benefit payments right away. You can expect your first check five months after your onset date based on your application.
SSI benefit payments, on the other hand, can start once the claim is approved.
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About The Author
Judy Ponio is a writer for Victor Malca Law P.A. and enjoys helping people with questions about social security, workers compensation, and other serious matters involving people’s livelihood. She is not an attorney and her writing should not be considered legal advice.