According to the Washington Post, 10,000 people who applied for Social Security Disability (SSD) died waiting to hear if they qualified. Many others will have to wait almost 600 days to hear how their case will be decided.
The backlog nationwide is affecting more than a million people. For one man who became legally blind after suffering an eye infection, the delay is far too long.
The man was a truck driver when he contracted the infection. He thought he would qualify for disability benefits, which he needs in order to keep his farm. His first claim for benefits was denied, though. Then he learned that it could take 18 months or longer to get a decision on his appeal.
Back in 2013, it took an average of 382 days to get a decision on an appeal. Now it’s more than 590 days — or more than 19 months — in 2017.
What is the reason for the backlog? According to what government officials told Congress, it’s due to a shortage of Social Security Administrative Law judges and their support staff. More money is needed to pay for the judges and their staff, but Congress didn’t pass a new budget before they adjourned this week.
Those who apply for SSD benefits can’t apply for unemployment, either. By applying for that benefit, they are telling the state that they can work. Applying for SSD benefits tells the government that the applicants can’t work.
If you apply for Social Security Disability benefits and are denied, an experienced attorney can help you file an appeal. However, it does seem as though you may need a lot of patience before learning of the government’s decision.
Source: kare11.com, “Investigates: Thousands die waiting for disability benefits,” Steven Eckert, Aaron J. Lagoe, Dec. 22, 2017