When people in California apply to the Social Security Administration for disability benefits, they usually expect a long wait. The agency, however, does have systems in place to process applications quickly if applicants meet certain criteria.

The TERI process exists to provide people suffering from terminal illnesses with approval within 30 days. For applicants without a terminal diagnosis, they still might qualify for a quick disability determination if they are afflicted by one of the 113 conditions on the Compassionate Allowances list. The medical issues on this list always qualify for disability benefits, and the agency is expected to add more medical conditions to the list as years go by. The quick determination process involves the use of software to analyze an application. The system looks for factors that almost always result in an approval for benefits.

Although only a portion of applicants qualify for quick determination, people still have a chance at approval. The agency grants benefits to between 35 and 40 percent of applicants. Medical vocational allowances could enable someone whose condition does not meet the requirements on the list of impairments to obtain benefits.

A person who wants to know more about applying for Social Security Disability could consult an attorney. A legal representative might be especially helpful to a client whose disability makes organizing medical records and filling out applications difficult. The lawyer could evaluate medical records and provide insights about the likelihood of approval for benefits. An attorney’s knowledge of the application process could help a client submit a complete application and schedule medical and vocational evaluations. In the event of a claim denial, an attorney could initiate the appeals process and advocate for the person’s needs at the disability hearing.