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Are Social Security disability applications a waiting game?

Although many changes might be coming with the new administration, President-elect Donald Trump has stated that he does not intend to reduce Social Security benefits. Yet that statement may not be as reassuring as it seems.

As a law firm that focuses on disability benefits, including Social Security disability insurance, we have observed an increasing gap between the growing number of SSDI beneficiaries and the resources of the Social Security Administration. That translates into longer wait times at all stages of the SSDI application process, from field office visits, to state agency decisons, to the scheduling of appeals hearings with judges.

According to one study, the number of SSDI and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) beneficiaries has increased by over six million since 2010. Part of the increase is attributable to demographics, such as the aging Baby Boomers. Applicants are also better informed about their rights, including the ability to file an SSDI application on the SSA's own website.

For questions that cannot be answered by reading the SSA's online information, however, applicants may face a waiting game. Many of the SSA's field offices across the country have closed, and those that remain are short-staffed in comparison to the number of visitors and applicants. In 2015, for example, fewer than half of applicants were able to schedule an appointment within three weeks at their closest SSA field office.

When backlogs and delays present obstacles to the application process, can anything be done to help level the playing field? Fortunately, our Philadelphia disability benefits attorneys are experienced with the procedures and legal strategy needed to skillfully navigate the SSDI's application procedures. For a free consultation, call our toll free number at 1-866-886-0660.

Source: Washington Post, "Social Security service declines as waits at offices grow," Joe Davidson, Dec. 9, 2016

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