Articles Posted in Disability Wait TImes

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On Wednesday the House passed a one week Continuing Resolution to avoid a government shutdown and to extend the time period to fully fund the governement through September 2023.  Congress last funded the government (through a continuing resolution) for the fiscal year that began in October through December 16th.  Both parties claim a desire to pass a full appropriations package that funds the government through September 2023.  Funding the Social Security Administration is of particular concern.

Complaints of service problems with Social Security increased during the pandemic.  Currently field offices are open on a limited basis for in-person service.  Over the pandemic period, disabled claimants waited 29 to 45 days for a phone appointment to file a claim.  Wait times for all phone calls to the agency averaged 33 minutes – with much longer times reported.  Claims processing times increased 45% (from 95 days to 139 days) at the intial application.  Field offices faced staff departures and struggled to attract new hires.  Years of underinvestment in the agency combined with the pandemic severely affected service.  From 2010 to 2021 the agency’s budget (adjusted for inflation) fell 14% as its caseload increased by 21%.  As a result Social Security struggles to provide essential services to the disabled and retirees.

In the continuing resolution, Congress funded SSA with bipartisan support at $400 million above the fiscal year 2022 level.  This funding increase staved off additional service-related problems created by a hiring and overtime freeze necessitated by low funding.   The Biden administration asked for a 12% increase over 2022 funding.

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A large number of Social Security disability claims are denied at the application stage. A new investigation finds the wait times for disability appeals in Georgia are extremely lengthy and can sometimes stretch into years.

More than 330,000 Georgians received Social Security disability payments at the beginning of the fiscal year 2020.  On an average, each beneficiary received a payment of $1,258. Those statistics conceal a disturbing fact – most  persons whose claims for disability benefits are denied are forced to wait for months, and sometimes even years, to have their appeals heard. The investigation found that in the Savannah area alone, the average wait time for an appeal hearing is almost one entire year. The situation is not much different in the rest of Georgia either.

A majority of Social Security disability claims are rejected or denied. The Social Security Administration does allow persons whose claims have been denied to appeal these denials. It is not necessary that you hire a lawyer to file your appeal, but it is highly recommended that you do so. A lawyer can help you present a strong case before the judge in charge of your case.

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