Dayton, Ohio Social Security office among the slowest in the country

clockAccording to a recent article in the Dayton Daily News, Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown’s state director met with officials from the Social Security Administration to discuss an enormous backlog of appeals for disability benefits.

The paper previously reported that the Social Security Administration’s Dayton hearing office has been ranked the second slowest in the country for the past two fiscal years. The speed relates to the office’s ability to process appeals for disability benefits. The office says it is working to reduce wait times, but Senator Brown says the action has not been sufficient. Those in the SSA are hoping that wait times continue to drop thanks to increasingly prevalent use of electronic medical records and a recently introduced video-hearing option.

Unfortunately, most applications are denied, but some choose to appeal their cases and it’s these people who have suffered due to the lengthy wait times in Dayton. Last year in Ohio some 21,511 people filed appeals for benefits, including 2,188 at the Dayton office.

In 2011, the average wait time for a decision in an appeal at the Dayton office was an astounding 491 days. This compares to a much shorter national average of 345 days. In 2011, only the office in Buffalo, New York was slower than Dayton’s. In 2010 the bottom two rungs were occupied by Dayton and another nearby Ohio city notorious for slow processing: Columbus, Ohio. That year the average wait time in Dayton came in at a whopping 596 days.

The Senator pointed out how important such hearings are, given that many are suffering terrible disabilities and need an answer quickly about whether they can begin receiving benefits. Slow processing times present a special hardship for those who lack income for necessities such as medication and health care. This can mean that some applicants fall even deeper into poverty or become even more disabled than they already were. Tragically, the Wall Street Journal recently discussed how since 2005 some 15,000 people have died while waiting for an administrative law judge to rule on their appeals.

If you think you may be entitled to Social Security Disability benefits and have questions, call The Law Offices of John T. Nicholson at 1-800-596-1533 for a free consultation today.