More than 800,000 Americans are waiting for Social Security disability payments — also known as the “disability backlog.” Currently, the average wait time stands at 18 months for disability benefit approvals, leaving many claimants in a state of limbo. Can disability legal representatives solve this problem?
What’s Causing the Delay in Approving SSD Cases?
Many Americans have their claims for disability benefits rejected by the Social Security Administration (SSA). Then, they appeal the decision, which results in longer processing times.
For many claimants, the lack of a disability representative results in rejection. These claimants don’t receive expert advice about how to process their claim so they often show the wrong documents or don’t collect the evidence they need to support their application.
Just 17.7 percent of claimants have a representative during their initial application for benefits. “Overall, two out of every three people who apply for federal disability benefits are rejected by a government agency that critics say is out of date, underfunded, and incapable of serving the exploding number of disabled Americans,” says CBS News. “Waiting times for a hearing in some cities are more than three years.”
Why is The Backlog a Problem?
Many people who wait for disability benefits are unable to work or support themselves. Some of these people have no source of income while they wait for the SSA to process their claim. As a result, they can experience a shortage of food. In other circumstances, people are unable to pay the rent or meet their financial commitments.
Shockingly, nearly 19,000 people died while waiting for disability benefits in 2016 and 2017, according to one study.
Which State Has the Biggest Disability Backlog?
Average wait times for disability benefit claimants differs from state to state, according to research. Currently, California has the highest backlog of claims. In total, there were more than 200,000 applications for disability benefits in 2018, and the SSA has yet to process around 76,000 of these
After California, Florida has the highest backlog — around 53,000 people are waiting to have their claims assessed. New York, Texas, and Pennsylvania are next on the list, respectively.
On the other end of the scale, Alaska is the state with the shortest backlog. Here, there were just under 4,000 claims for disability benefits in 2018. As of 2019, 767 people are waiting to hear from officials about their claims.
Note, however, that the study didn’t include four states. The SSA routes claims for disability benefits made in Idaho, South Dakota, Vermont, and Wyoming to nearby states.
What Can Be Done To Help Correct the Disability Backlog?
Right now, hundreds of thousands of Americans are still waiting to hear back from the SSA about disability benefits. For some people, this wait is agonizing. They are unable to support themselves until they receive the funds they need.
There could be a solution, however. Research shows that people with a disability representative have their claims processed three times faster than those who make an application by themselves. Why? A legal rep can source the right paperwork and provide the SSA with the evidence they need to process a claim.
Looking for a representative to help you apply for disability benefits? Contact The Good Law Group and receive the representation you deserve.