Results from COVID-tied SSA office closures; proposed agency funding

| Jul 21, 2021 | Social Security Disability

An article commentator on the Social Security Administration notes a prominent two-pronged effect resulting from the prolonged pandemic-linked closure of scores of SSA offices nationally.

The locked offices have yielded both salutary and notably harmful results.

On the one hand, many employees and would-be visitors were safeguarded from COVID-19 downsides owing to the many field locations shuttered for more than a year-plus of time.

On the other hand, though, the unprecedented mass closure has reportedly worked egregious harm upon one select demographic. The above writer notes that “the ripple effect for those applying for Social Security Disability has been devastating.”

It’s not hard to see why. The widespread COVID-tied office lockups have delivered some serious downsides, including these:

  • Nearly 764,000 cited pending disability applications in backlog status last year, up an appreciable 30% from about 594,000 backlogged claims in 2019
  • A stark increase of 11 days additionally tacked on to the average processing time for a given application

The delays “have tangible consequences,” underscores the article writer. Affected individuals can suffer financial woes. Stress levels can materially increase for many people already dealing with physical and/or mental challenges.

That is a truly big deal both individually and from a collective national perspective. It is estimated that about one-quarter of America’s adult population suffers from some form of disability or prolonged medical problem. Those with complications severe enough to qualify for SSD benefits merit due consideration from national lawmakers charged with overseeing and properly supporting mainstay programs like Social Security Disability.

The current presidential administration seems to well appreciate that. Its recently proposed fiscal year 2022 budget calls for a nearly 10% increase in SSA funding.