Social Security Disability Waiting Game
US Representative Kathy Castor, a Tampa Democrat, has introduced legislation in Congress which she hopes will help thousands of families who are waiting for Social Security Disability benefits, but are currently trapped in a multi-year backlog as the Social Security Administration processes their Social Security Disability claim. Castors bill would require the Social Security Administration to schedule a Social Security Disability hearing within 75 days and require an administrative law judge ruling within 15 days of the hearing date.
Each year thousands of applicants must wait up to a year and a half before they receive their Social Security Disability benefits. Currently, the average waiting time is 510 days for individuals seeking a hearing. In certain areas of the United States, the waiting period can be even longer.
Over the past decade Social Security Disability cases have doubled, and there are currently 750,000 Social Security Disability Cases that are awaiting a hearing. These delays have occurred due to staff cutbacks, private insurers requiring claimants to file for Social Security Disability prior to receiving an insurance settlement, and a general increase in Social Security disability applications. This excessive delay can spell economic disaster for many families. Some individuals find they are unable to pay their bills. Others face foreclosure on their homes, or are forced to consider filing bankruptcy.
The Social Security Administration announced they will begin hiring up to 175 new administrative law judges and open an additional processing center in Virginia to increase their ability to process Social Security Disability claims. In addition, the Social Security Administration is improving their disability determination process through a nationwide Quick Disability Determination system. The Social Security Administration hopes these efforts will allow them to process claims more efficiently.
Hopefully, this new legislation and the increased efforts of the Social Security Administration will begin to eliminate the backlog of Social Security Disability cases and help individuals who are currently caught in the Social Security Disability waiting game.