If you are applying for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits, one of the first things you need to understand is that the average wait for a hearing is two years.

That’s one of the most difficult aspects of the process for applicants to digest and accept. After all, if you are making application for SSD benefits, you are already unable to work and suffering from a condition that limits your abilities to carry out your normal activities of daily life.

If depression wasn’t one of your health issues prior to learning this, it could soon develop. Americans have a right to question why this vital process takes so long.

The answer to this question is that bureaucratic backlog slows the clock considerably. The backlog is due to — as so many things are — a dearth of Congressional funding for Social Security appropriations. Staff shortages further complicate the situation. Meanwhile, your bills are mounting and foreclosure may loom.

Rep. Sam Johnson, R-Texas, who is one of the members of the Health Subcommittee, as well as the House Ways and Means Committee and chairman of the Social Security Subcommittee, agrees that the SSD status quo is “unacceptable.”

As chairman, he presided over 18 hearings regarding the disability benefits program. He also requested that the President nominate a Social Security Commissioner. But the position remains unfilled.

Making it worst of all is that often applicants are denied on their first hearing and then have to appeal. That’s another wait.

None of this is news that applicants want to hear, yet it’s important to face the reality of the situation. With much out of applicants’ control, it’s vital to be proactive wherever possible. That means working closely with your SSD attorney to collect all pertinent medical records and other substantiating documentation and adhering to all deadlines.

Source: Star-Telegram, “Suddenly disabled, unable to work and need benefits? Prepare for financial ruin first,” Jeff Caplan, accessed Dec. 15, 2017