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Three former heads of the Social Security Administration (SSA) have called on lawmakers to make budgeting fixes to help resolve the worsening customer service issues plaguing the agency since budgeting cuts went into effect. The letter by the three former Commissioners – Ken Apfel, Jo Anne Barnhart, and Carolyn Colvin – was recently delivered to Congressional delegates. The letter calls on lawmakers to remove the SSA from caps imposed by the 2011 Budget Control Act. This law has required the SSA to compete with other federal agencies for funding.

The cap has worsened the deteriorating backlog crisis at the agency. The letter emphasizes that in 2018 as many as 858,000 Americans were waiting for their appeals hearings. The backlog at the agency’s processing centers is expected to cross 2.9 million cases this year.

Also, the cap has increased wait times for persons who call the agency’s toll-free number. In 2018, the average Social Security applicant spent 24 minutes waiting to speak with an SSA employee.  Applying for and receiving Social Security disability benefits is not an easy or simple task, by any means. Wait times can be very lengthy, and most claims are denied the first time around. It’s always best to work with an attorney to maximize your chances of filing a claim that will help you recover the benefits you are eligible for.