Thousands Die Waiting For Social Security Disability Benefits
The Social Security Disability benefits process can take such a long time, many people wait the rest of their lives—literally. The Social Security Administration recently reported that in 2016 and 2017, 18,701 people died while waiting to receive Social Security Disability benefits.
More than 1 million more claimants were still waiting for their benefits at the end of 2017. The average wait time for those waiting for an appeal hearing was 605 days, with wait times close to 800 days in some areas of the country.
Even though the Social Security Administration has received additional funding to hire more judges and staff, it is unlikely that things will get better until at least the year 2022. Even the agency’s Compassionate Allowance program—which puts those with serious conditions and terminal illnesses to the front of the line—needs improvement. Those with cancer and serious disabilities are not receiving their benefits in a timely manner.
These statistics are unacceptable. To have nearly 19,000 people die without receiving the benefits they work hard to earn is devastating, and more must be done to lower this number.
Many claimants can avoid being affected by the backlog by hiring someone to represent them. Those who hire a lawyer or other person to help with their Social Security Disability claim are approved at three times the rate of those who choose to file their claim on their own.
Should I Hire a Lawyer?
Statistics show that 65 percent of initial Social Security Disability claims are denied. Once your claim is denied, your only option is to file an appeal. Getting a hearing scheduled can take months or even years due to extreme backlogs across the country. However, during the appeals process, 66 percent of claims are approved.
You definitely should consider hiring a lawyer during the appeals process. Having a lawyer on your side will greatly improve your chances of winning the appeal. Social Security Disability lawyers understand how the process works and they know what your claim needs to include in order for it to be approved.
Some claimants have their claims denied because they are still working and making a substantial amount of income. Under the Social Security Administration’s stringent criteria, a disability means that you cannot perform any gainful work activity.
It may even be wise to hire a lawyer early on in the process so you can avoid an appeal in the first place. After all, the sooner you can receive your benefits, the better.
Learn More About Social Security Disability Benefits
Your chances of being approved for Social Security Disability benefits are slim. Most applicants are denied the first time around. Avoid delays and get your application approved by seeking the help of a law firm who understands the complexities involved.
Get legal help from the Law Office of Michael Lawrence Varon. He has more than 20 years of experience handling Social Security Disability claims and can help you achieve a favorable outcome. Contact his office today at 914-294-2145 to schedule a free initial consultation.