Social Security Disability Delays Impact Vulnerable Patients
Unfortunately it is becoming all to common for those applying for Social Security Disability benefits to suffer delay after delay while their claims languish in a bureaucratic mess as the Social Security Administration struggles to keep up with a growing caseload. Given the numbers of aging baby boomers, the SSA has found itself under incredible stress and its ability to promptly handle cases has been compromised.
For a small group of claimants who are suffering from severe illnesses, many of their cases are never even heard because they die before ever reaching the point of getting a proper hearing. The Social Security Administration has said that some 2,000 cases were dismissed last year because the claimant died. This figure is tragic not only for the deceased who was never able to get benefits, but also for his or her family members who are in need of support.
Everyone who is familiar with the disability process knows it can take years to finally begin receiving benefits. Most claims are denied at first and then must be appealed up the chain of command until the case is given a fair hearing. Overcrowded dockets such as those in Toledo, Ohio and other places can slow the process down and mean that some of the most vulnerable claimants never receive their day in court.
The SSA has been dealing with mounting problems for years. More than 63,000 claimants waited at least 635 days for an initial appeal hearing and decision back in 2007. Thankfully that number has come down, but nowhere near where it ought to be. The SSA says that the process has gotten faster and that it hopes to end the backlog of cases that are older than 310 days. Though this represents a big drop from how bad things used to be, it is important to note that this wait comes after an individual has already waited an average of 150 days for a claim to be denied and then reconsidered before appealing to the ALJ.
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.