Backlog Hits SSA, 1 Million People Waiting For Benefits
Are you disabled and waiting for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits? If so, you’re not alone. Estimates show that more than 1 million Americans are waiting for their benefits to be approved. That’s a huge number. In fact, this is a record, the most ever.
It currently takes the Social Security Administration (SSA) an average of 220 days to make a decision on a disability claim. That’s more than seven months. In 2019, the average was less than half that time, at just 100 days. That’s still a long time for those who are disabled, unable to earn income, and need money quickly.
SSDI applicants are facing the consequences of the long wait time. Many become homeless. Many others die waiting for the claim to be approved. They may have hearing dates scheduled, but do not survive long enough to attend the hearing. It’s a sad situation.
Making matters worse is the fact that most SSDI claims are denied the first time around. It is estimated that two-thirds of first-time claims are denied. The main reasons for this are a lack of medical evidence and documentation not being submitted completely.
But why are wait times increasing? Statistics show that claim numbers are decreasing. From 2010 to 2022, SSDI claims dropped by 37%. Claims for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) declined by 49%.
The problem seems to be with the Social Security Administration. Why aren’t claims being dealt with in a timely manner? The agency is starting to take some steps in the right direction, but can only do so much given its budget. It is redirecting experienced employees, hiring new full-time employees, and working on improvements to processes and policies.
Experts and lawmakers have a few more suggestions. They include:
- Eliminate the reconsideration process. If a claim is denied and the applicant does not agree with the results, they can go to the next step, which is called reconsideration. However, reconsideration is not usually beneficial. In 90% of cases, the result is the original decision. The better step may be to meet with an administrative law judge to save time.
- Increase funding. Republicans have proposed a 30% budget cut to the Social Security Administration, which would not help the situation. Office hours would be reduced, while disability benefit applicants would see wait times increase by two months or more. The solution is to add more funding, not cut it. There needs to be more people working on these claims.
Learn More About Social Security Disability Benefits
When it comes to SSDI benefits, many people have to play the waiting game. Meanwhile, applicants struggle to pay for everyday expenses.
Count on a White Plains Social Security Disability lawyer from The Law Office of Michael Lawrence Varon to help you understand all the benefits you are entitled to receive. We can also help you deal with any legal issues you may be facing. To schedule a free consultation, fill out the online form or call (914) 228-1770.