Whether it is through medical diagnosis or an injury suffered, being told that you are disabled, temporarily or permanently, is never easy to hear. This can greatly alter a person’s ability to get through their normal routine. In some cases, it can be challenging to care for him or herself or even obtain and maintain employment. Thus, the financial burdens associated with a disability can be overwhelming. In order to address and reduce these financial hardships, individuals will apply for Social Security disability benefits.
While SSD benefits are known to be somewhat advantageous to applicants deemed eligible of them, it is not always easy for applicants to move forward through the process. In fact, more than 1 million U.S. residents are currently waiting on a hearing that will establish whether of not they qualify for disability benefits. The average wait for an applicant is nearly two years. And for some, this is longer than they are given to live.
Those in this waiting period are those that were initially denied after filing an application. For whatever reason for denial, an applicant is afforded the right to appeal this decision. However, when an appeal is filed and the application is made complete with added information and evidence, this commences the often lengthy waiting period.
Based on current data, 10.5 million individuals receive disability benefits from Social Security. However, in order for some of these individuals to obtain these benefits, he or she must go through the reconsideration or appeals process. Currently, the average waiting period for a hearing is 602 years, which is nearly double what it was in 2012. Finally, it was found that there were 7,400 people on the waitlist that passed on.
Although the ongoing news and discussions regarding the lengthy wait to appeal a denied SSD benefits decision seem discouraging, this should not stop applicants from filing their initial application or appealing an unfavorable decision. If you have questions regarding the SSD application process or how to appeal a decision, it might be helpful to obtain legal advice. This will ensure you are aware of your rights and move through the process as efficiently as possible.
Source: The Denver Post, “Social Security disability backlog tops 1 million; thousands die on waitlist,” Stephen Ohlemacher, Sept. 18, 2017