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What are Quick Disability Determinations, and can you get one?

Individuals who get hurt or who develop a severe medical condition such as terminal cancer may find that they need Social Security Disability benefits because they can no longer work. Unfortunately, the program is plagued with red tape and notoriously long wait times for the people who need its benefits.

In some places, applicants can wait for more than a year before finally connecting with the benefits they need. Thankfully, that doesn't happen to every applicant. Certain individuals may qualify for a Quick Disability Determination (QDD).

As the name implies, individuals who qualify for a QDD will move through the initial application process in a much quicker fashion than those whose application goes through the standard process. Learning a little bit more about what qualifies someone for a faster response can help you predict how long you will have to wait for answers after submitting your disability application.

The QDD program uses computer screening

Essentially, rapid application processing relies on the computer system used by the Social Security Administration flagging an application as ideal for approval. Typically, this involves a combination of a frequently-approved medical diagnosis and plenty of medical documentation affirming the condition and the need for disability benefits.

Individuals who make errors in their applications or who have only recently begun seeking medical treatment for their diagnosis and therefore have very little documentation may not qualify for faster application processing.

Part of the purpose of faster processing is to protect those with terminal conditions

While it is true that most people who apply for Social Security Disability need the benefits to pay for their basic costs of living, those who have a condition with a dire prognosis may need benefits sooner rather than later.

Some aggressive or degenerative conditions may leave patients with a life expectancy that is shorter than the standard application processing time for disability benefits. Others may have such severe symptoms that they have no alternative means of securing income. Ideally, quicker determinations help these individuals connect with the benefits they need as soon as possible.

Applicants with severe or terminal conditions are more likely than those with moderate conditions to secure a QDD.

Standard application processing doesn't mean you don't have a valid claim

Some people feel disheartened when they realize that their application does not meet the criteria for fast processing. However, you shouldn't let the fact that your application will have to go through the standard process deter you from pursuing benefits. Even if you receive a rejection to your initial application, you still have the right to appeal that denial.

Sometimes, just failing to provide adequate medical documentation can cause major delays in connecting with the benefits you need. Other times, a careful review of medical records to affirm the severity of your condition is necessary before your application receives approval.

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