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Why is there a high backlog in Social Security Disability claims?

On Behalf of | Feb 16, 2023 | Social Security Disability

If you believe you’re spending an inordinately long time waiting for a decision on your Social Security Disability claim as a Kentucky resident, you’re not alone. A report released by USA Facts in January 2023 indicates that people around the country who have filed wait an average of seven months before receiving a decision. That wait time is the highest in 14 years.

Why is the wait time so high?

Years of inadequate funding and attrition in the Social Security Administration’s workforce have led to inordinately high workloads because the available workers can’t process them promptly. This situation leads to longer periods before successful applicants can begin receiving Social Security Disability benefits. The earliest an applicant can receive benefits is five months after filing a claim. The delay often poses a hardship for applicants as they cannot work and have little or no income during that period.

Disability payments are labor intensive, not cut-and-dried like regular Social Security payments for retirees. Approximately two out of three applicants have their initial claim denied. In addition, the appeals process can take years, and even then, less than half receive approval. The delays and the denial rate cause many Social Security Disability applicants to file for bankruptcy because they cannot pay their bills. However, the agency can expedite claims under specified circumstances, including:

  • Compassionate Allowances List for certain cancers and neurodegenerative diseases
  • Presumptive Disability for complete vision or hearing loss, spinal cord injuries, and several other conditions
  • Veterans rated as 100% permanent and total disability

Why many claims are initially denied

Expediting your SSD claim is also possible under other circumstances. Some individuals may also qualify for additional payments if they meet certain requirements, such as low income. Filing and completely filling out the necessary paperwork is essential.

Some applicants believe they are out of luck once they receive a denial. However, many of them receive a denial because they have information missing from their application. Make sure you have as much information as possible from your doctor outlining your inability to work. The more complete that information is, the better your chance of receiving a favorable decision on your first attempt.