The blog recently discussed the appeals process when applicants have been denied Social Security disability (SSD) benefits. Unfortunately, there has been a significant backlog to receive a hearing following a denial of benefits which is one level in the appeals process. There are currently 1.1 million applications for SSD benefits waiting for a hearing and the average wait time from initial application to a hearing decision is 26 months.
Congress recently addressed this issue by designating $150 million to address the hearing backlog. The funding could be used to hire additional administrative law judges and staff, as well as for other measures, to resolve the hearing backlog. The current projection for reduction of the backlog is 2020 but it is hoped that the funding will be able to help clear the backlog for hearings sooner. In the long term, the Social Security Administration is hiring more administrative law judges to reduce wait times for hearings.
It is essential for applicants for disability benefits to be familiar with the application process and how to provide the strongest application possible. This can include understanding how to organize and provide medical records, as well as other aspects of the application process. Thoroughly understanding the application process can help give applicants the best chance of their application being approved but it is important to keep in mind that the appeals process is available when an application has been denied.
Disabled applicants for Social Security disability benefits can face serious health and financial consequences while waiting during the application and appeals processes. As a result, disabled individuals and their families should have a careful understanding of their options, the application process and the appeals process to be prepared for whatever is needed when applying for disability benefits.
Source: Yahoo Finance, "Social Security Disability Program Gets Funding For Hearing Backlog," Jan. 11, 2017