Attention drawn to Social Security Disability processing delays

Social Security Disability Insurance can be difficult to receive because the process can be difficult to navigate. Several states throughout the United States have Social Security disability processing backlogs greater than a year. The third-longest processing delay in the country recently prompted one member of state government in that state to call for change. In the same state, claimants can wait 17 months for a hearing after they have filed an appeal following a denial of benefits. One state representative, in highlighting the severity of the problem, noted in his call for action that before getting the benefits they were entitled to, some have had to file for bankruptcy, lost their homes or even died.

The Social Security Administration has blamed budget cuts for the backlog. In 2011, the Social Security Administration estimated it could reduce the backlog of disability claims nationally to 525,000 by the current fiscal year; that number has since been modified by the agency’s inspector general in favor of a reduction target of 668,127 pending claims. The administration serves 57 million beneficiaries in total. In 2012, over 12 million disabled workers, spouses and children received benefits which is an increase from 7.5 million in 2000.

The initial claims review process for a claimant can take six months to a year to complete. Over the past ten years, the number of successful claimants after the initial claims’ process has averaged less than 30 percent. Claimants denied Social Security can appeal and that process can take up to another year to complete. Because of these numbers, which do not favor successful claimants, it is important to thoroughly understand and executed both the claims’ and appeals’ processes.

The SSDI process can seem overwhelming, lengthy and complex. Because of this, the benefit of an understanding of the process and experience with the process cannot be underestimated.

Source: The Baltimore Sun, “Social Security disability backlog in Md. among highest in nation,” John Fritze, June 2, 2014