The Social Security Administration (SSA) governs two important federal relief programs for disabled individuals: Social Security Disability (SSD) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI).
Recent testimony by the SSA before the Subcommittee on Social Security, Committee on Ways and Means, House of Representatives, discussed preliminary findings of a study looking into challenges faced by the SSA — and individuals who need the benefits offered by these two important programs.
Conducted by the United States General Accountability Office (GAO), the study reported that the SSA paid $62 billion in retirement, disability and supplemental income to Americans in 2012. The report noted the following findings concerning SSD:
- Labor and job information has been updated to reflect work that might be available due to developments in assistive devices and medical technology that could help formerly disabled individuals return to work.
- While the SSA processes approximately three million claims annually, more than 700,000 claims remained pending in fiscal year 2012. The SSA is continuing to fall behind on processing claims, while the number of disability claimants between 2012 and 2025 is expected to rise 15 percent.
- After denial of benefits, applicants can appeal their cases for hearing before an administrative law judge (ALJ). With an average wait time to schedule of 321 days, the SSA conducted 54,000 hearings in 2012.
The report addresses other features of the SSA, including the needed changes to physical infrastructure and the losses in human resources the agency faces from retirement and hiring freezes in the near future. Wait times for benefits and hearings on delivery of benefits are increasing, and will likely continue to do so if the SSA’s pool of workers decreases.
The view from here is not good. To reduce your possible wait for SSD or SSI, work with an experienced Stipe Law Firm attorney to ensure your application is accurate and complete the first time. We know how crucial SSD and SSI benefits are to our clients and are dedicated to seeking your claim through until its ultimate resolution.