If there is one thing that’s certain about social security disability for children and adults, it would definitely be the long waiting time. The average waiting time for a decision to be made regarding a child’s social security claim used to be three to five months or more. There is reason to believe that the waiting time will become much longer due a backlog that continues to grow.
The Social Security Waiting Time Has Gone Record Long
According to a recent report, the average wait time to get a hearing in front of a judge and receive a decision is 596 days or the equivalent of 19 1/2 months. This waiting time is up from 545 days when compared to September last year. In comparison, the wait time in 2012 was only 353 days. It is estimated that there are now as many as 1.1 million cases waiting for a hearing date. That number has dramatically gone up from 700,000 back in 2010.
Meanwhile, as the waiting time puts both adults and children in a drastic disadvantage, it was recently found that this has resulted in a positive outcome for the Social Security disability trust fund. It’s now slightly healthier than originally expected.
Social Security Trust Fund Benefiting from Long Waiting Times
The slowdown in the processing of claims have resulted in much less fund releases. This is the belief that Mary Dale Walters recently shared. Walters is the Senior Vice President for Allsup, a company that specializes in helping disability claimants get their benefits. Moreover, perhaps due to the overwhelming backlog, the Social Security Board of Trustees annual report in July also estimated that the disability fund would run by year 2028, five years later than the estimate made in 2016. Should a claim ultimately get approved, benefits will be given starting from a date five months after the filing of the original claim.
President Trump Tries to Address Backlog, SSA Promises to Do the Same
It remains to be seen whether these waiting times will improve. Allsup estimates that the waiting time would only further increase to as many as 605 days come September. To address this, the Trump administration has already recommended designating $90 million of the Social Security Administration’s funding to help reduce the backlog. However, some believe this may not be enough. The Social Security Administration (SSA) has also vowed to address the backlog issue which it attributes to the growing number of Baby Boomers who are now moving into their disability years. To do this, the administration said it plans to utilize a combination of technology, additional employees and better processes. Meanwhile, the percentage of people who apply for a hearing and subsequently win is now at 46 percent. It has fallen significantly from six years ago when the ‘win’ rate had been 64 percent. It is believed that the reason for this is largely due to the judges now giving equal weight to the testimony provided by the applicant’s doctor and the second opinion for a doctor appointed by social security. Moreover, from the date of the initial application, people may have to wait 2 1/2 years or even longer just to get a decision from the judge. If a patient in your hospital is dealing with a lot of uncertainty and long waiting times concerning their social security disability eligibility, it may help to seek assistance from a company specializing in Social Security disability advocacy and representation services. It will certainly help in easing any anxiety your patient may have with regard to their application status. This way, the decision process can be expedited so that they can finally claim the benefit that they so badly need as well. Sources: Social Security disability fund benefiting from longer lag times, thehill.com Wait time for federal disability benefits appeal hits a record, sfchronicle.com