Social Security disability benefits can represent a financial lifeline for people whose medical conditions make it nearly impossible to work for a living. Unfortunately, the process of applying for these benefits can be difficult and often time-consuming.
The wait between applying for benefits and actually receiving them has been very long indeed for applicants in upstate New York. One Buffalo Social Security Administration office was ranked near the bottom in a national review of turnaround times.
The Buffalo Office of Disability Adjudication and Review was widely criticized several years ago after local news services reported that applicants were waiting months to have their cases reviewed in court. At least one applicant waited more than two years.
The reports prompted an investigation and pressure from members of the U.S. Congress. In response, the office has reportedly hired more staffers and has made an effort to improve service. Administrative judges have promised that they are now decreasing waiting times for applicants in New York.
A hearing is a common step after the initial denial of an applicant's claim. Many claims are denied at first, and so applicants must request a hearing. Once the hearing takes place, an administrative law judge reviews the claim and issues a ruling.
Having the help of a Social Security disability attorney during this time can be very important. Lawyers who understand the system can help applicants navigate the often difficult Social Security system and argue their cases in an administrative hearing. Those who are seeking disability benefits can benefit from discussing their circumstances with a lawyer and reviewing their legal options.
Source: WIVB.com, "Buffalo's Social Security Disability wait times look to improve," Al Vaughters, March 9, 2016