They say the gears of justice grind slowly. They may grind the slowest for Social Security Disability matters.
Appealing a denied claim can force an applicant to wait months, sometimes years, to get their case before an administrative judge. Wait times vary by location, but virtually every place in the U.S., including Missouri, is affected by backlogs and delays, according to Florida Today. Nationwide, the average wait time for an appeal hearing is 16 months, and about 1 million hearings are currently pending.
This has been a problem for a long time. A few years ago, the Social Security Administration tried to limit each judges’ caseload, but that allegedly led to judges feeling pressured to approve more cases to speed up the process.
A Congressional committee accused judges of approving dubious claims, even though the majority of applicants never get approved. The Obama administration says there is no evidence of SSD appeals getting rubber stamped.
The SSA hopes to reduce the time applicants must wait for an appeal to no more than 270 days, and has given itself until 2020 to make this goal a reality. The agency is planning to hire 400 more judges by 2018, and is trying things like a pre-trial triage program to sort cases, and video hearings with out-of-state judges.
Waiting for SSD or Supplemental Security Income benefits you feel are rightfully yours can be highly frustrating, especially if your family badly needs them to make ends meet. One way to avoid dragging the process out even longer is to make sure your appeal contains all the necessary supporting evidence and is free of mistakes, things your SSD attorney can help you with.