New Federal Budget Aims To Reduce Social Security Disability Claims BacklogBy Katherine L on April 4, 2018 | In Social Security Claims Process
The newly signed federal budget actually increases the administrative funding for the Social Security Administration (SSA). And that’s a good thing.
Years of budget cuts have left the SSA short of staff, with the shortfall affecting the customer service toll-free line. The average call wait time is 30 minutes with some callers being put on hold for as long as 2 hours during peak times. Service at local field offices has suffered too.
But perhaps the most damaging problem resulting from the staffing shortage has been the huge backlog in Social Security Disability (SSDI)appeals. The SSA reports that the average wait time for an initial application (65% of which are denied) and a first-level Reconsiderationappeal is 212 days – about 7 months.
The average wait to further appealan SSDI benefits denial at an Administrative Law Judge hearingaverages 605 days. Therefore, those who arguably need these payments most – for medical expenses in addition to normal living expenses – must wait more than 20 months for benefits to begin. Read more about this issue in our blog Too Many Disabled Individuals Die Waiting for Social Security Disability Approvals.
Previously Reduced Funding in the Face of Rising Needs
These major issues have culminated in reduced service levels and record-breaking backlogs:
- The nation is aging and so demand for SSA services is rising. Between 2010 and 2017, the number of beneficiaries rose 13%.
- Repeated budget cuts – a total of 11% between 2010 and 2017 – have forced significant staffing reductions that have negatively affected the ability to provide timely services. More than 3,000 field office positions have been cut since 2010, with 60 field offices closed and office hours curtailed.
The welcome budget increase earmarks funds for badly needed information upgrades and for reducing the disability backlog. Funding is also identified for field office and teleservice operations improvements.
We Can Help With Your Social Security Disability Claim
If you or a loved one has been denied Worker’s Compensationor Social Security Disability (SSDI)benefits, getting help from an attorney experienced in these types of cases should be your priority. Call 800.438.7734for your initial free consultation, either in our office or in the comfort of your own home. The Kenton Koszdin Law Office, Social Security attorneynear Los Angeles and San Fernando Valley, can help you navigate the application process for the best possible outcome for you and your family.