A recent surge by the baby boomer generation has led to a significant backlog of applications for the Social Security Administration, which has affected thousands of Americans trying to collect Social Security Disability benefits. This reality, combined with a $1 billion drop in federal funding for additional staff has led to a wait time during the evaluation process of up to 22 months for some applicants. This makes things especially difficult for injured or ill individuals who are unable to work and are in dire need of financial assistance.
Miami tops the list with a 22 month wait time, but lengthy waits extend throughout the country including our neighbors in Brooklyn, New York, who are experiencing wait-times between 19 and 20 months.
Understanding this dilemma, the SSA plans to hire an additional 400 judges to rule on individual cases by 2018. The SSA stated that their goal is to reduce wait times for applicants to under 270 days by the year 2020.
No agency or law firm can speed up the evaluation process once an application has been submitted to the Social Security Administration. However, in an effort to make certain that an application has been thoroughly and properly completed, it may be wise for an applicant to seek professional advice before submitting it.
This year, it is estimated that 66 percent of applications have been rejected. Although there is an appeals process, considering the time it takes for approval, it is in an applicant's best interest to provide the strongest case possible with their initial submission to avoid a lengthy appeals process.
Source: Star Tribune, "Some struggle to live while waiting more than 2 years for Social Security disability hearings," Kelli Kennedy, Accessed Dec. 1, 2015