If you or your family member is disabled, Social Security disability benefits may be available through SSDI. Unfortunately, in some cases, an SSDI claim can take a frustratingly long time to process.

This can pose a significant burden on certain people and families. To address this, the Social Security Administration (SSA) classifies certain claims as “critical cases” that are eligible for an expedited decision.

In this article, you will find an overview of how the SSA defines critical cases in SSDI applications.

Social Security Disability Crucial Cases: Defined

social security disability lawyer

You can not simply ask the SSA to classify your SSDI application as a “critical case” because you would prefer a faster decision. To qualify as a critical case under federal regulations an applicant must meet certain standards. There are actually several different types of critical cases. As explained in the official guidelines published by the Social Security Administration (SSA), an SSDI application may qualify as a critical case if any one of the following five standards are met:


  1. Terminal Illness: If a Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) applicant has a terminal illness, he or she may qualify as a “critical case” entitled to expedited processing. Notably, the SSA defines a terminal illness as one that is untreatable, irreversible, and expected to result in death.
  2. Veteran Total Disability: Military veterans who are dealing with a total and permanent disability also have enhanced options under the SSA’s critical case regulations. A fully disabled military veteran may be eligible for an expedited decision on the SSDI claim.
  3. Military Casualty/Wounded Warrior: The SSA also classifies an SSDI application as a critical case if the person filing is a military casualty/wounded warrior. A person who sustains a disability while serving in the armed forces may qualify as a critical case even if they do not have a total disability.
  4. Dire Need: The SSA also allows people to apply for critical case processing on the basis of dire financial needs. If you need SSDI benefits immediately to make payments on basic things, such as medication, food, or housing, you may qualify as a critical case on those grounds alone. If you have any questions about the so-called dire need critical case exception, an experienced Social Security disability lawyer can help.
  5. Compassionate Allowance: Finally, the SSA has the authority to classify an SSDI application as a critical case on the grounds of “compassionate allowance.” This exception allows SSDI claims to get classified as a critical case earlier on in the application process.


Critical case Social Security disability claims are complicated. If you or your family is applying for SSDI benefits and you need an expedited decision because you qualify as a critical case under federal law, professional legal guidance and support are available. An experienced Social Security disability law, such as those at the Social Security Law Group, can help you take action to get the full financial assistance that you deserve without any unnecessary delay.

You May Also Like