As this blog has discussed in the past, Social Security disability can be a financial safeguard for those who are unable to work on account of their federally recognized disability. Though there are challenges to succeeding on a claim, such as proving that one’s disability meets federal requirements, there is another obstacle that one usually must face first: the wait.
The Social Security Administration is experiencing a huge backlog of cases, despite efforts to reform the system to increase efficiency. In fact, there are currently more than one million individuals who are waiting to have an appeal of their denied initial claim heard. The current wait to get a hearing on appeal is about 16 to 18 months, which can be frustrating, particularly when the hearing only lasts about an hour. During that waiting period, many find themselves facing drastic financial hardship and uncertainty.
Though recent legislation has targeting cutting the backlog of appeals waiting to be heard, the number has only increased. Many are calling the wait time a disaster for due process, and they may be right. In the meantime, though, the Social Security Administration hopes to hire an additional 200 administrative law judges by 2018, which could help cut wait times. Yet, even with shorter wait times, many feel that individual cases are not given the attention they deserve. Medical documentation to be considered could reach into the thousands of pages, which can be overwhelming to an administrative law judge who might have mere minutes to consider a case.
This is why those appealing a SSD benefits denial should funnel their stress and frustration into preparation. With the help of a skilled attorney, these individuals may be able to find a way to present their claim in a clear, concise, and extremely persuasive way. Hopefully, then, these individuals will be able to acquire the compensation they need to live the life of dignity they deserve.
Source: Springfield News-Sun, “Injured workers wait – and wait – for benefits,” Chris Steward, March 5, 2016