Since seemingly its inception, Social Security Disability Insurance has had a long backlog that has only grown larger over the decades. Those past-due applications have resulted in equally lengthy wait times for applicants, many unable to work and in desperate need of financial relief.
The average SSD wait time for hearings went down nationally in 2020, with an average reduction of 111 days with 157,000 fewer applicants. However, that does not mean that all states became more efficient.
The top-five longest wait times measured by days include:
- Hawaii (470)
- Nevada (455)
- Washington (439)
- Colorado (411)
- California (402)
The five highest states that see people waiting longest for their hearings include:
- California (35,297)
- Texas (26,068)
- Florida (20,998)
- Pennsylvania (16,869)
- New York (16,569)
The impact on applicants enduring lengthy delays created significant financial, health, and psychological problems. Examples include:
- Borrowing money from relatives and friends – 40 percent
- Skipping credit card/loan payments – 26 percent
- Worsening of primary illness – 40 percent
- Anxiety and depression – 65 percent
From 2014 to 2019, the wait times saw 48,000 Americans file for bankruptcy while waiting for a decision. Perhaps most alarming is the 110,000 people who died over the past decade before they could secure their much-needed benefits.
Making a bad situation worse is the decision by medical offices to stop all elective medical care temporarily. A few months ago, nearly 30 percent of medical providers still refused to restart in-person examinations.
Taking on the process of applying for Social Security Disability benefits without help only prolongs the wait time. The process is far too complex and lengthy. An attorney with knowledge, experience, and success in this area of the law can provide the best hope applicants have to get their benefits sooner rather than later.