Anyone who applies for Social Security Disability benefits likely knows that they are at the beginning of a very complex and lengthy process. The Social Security Administration (SSA) has never been known for its efficiency in getting much-needed financial resources for its SSDI applicants.
Even in an age where technology should speed up processing, the wait times add frustration on top of the medical challenges they face.
The state of the SSDI process
The SSA recently released its national approval and denial rates for every level of SSDI decisions. Their data reveals that the wait times are not only consistently lengthy but on the increase when compared to 2019 information.
Social Security cites offices being shuttered due to the COVID-19 pandemic, eliminating any progress they may have been making over the past several years.
Specific statistics reveal the following:
- The backlog of initial applications pending increased by nearly one-third (593,944 to 763,747)
- Once applications are received, processing times grew by 11 days to 142, compared to 131 in 2019
- First appeal/reconsideration wait times increased by 13 days to 122
- Claims pending for first appeals/reconsiderations increased from more than 133,000 to more than 143,000
The SSA revealed some promising news for SSDI applicants at the hearing level:
- Pending claims declined from 575,412 to 418,313, with processing times reducing to 386 from the previous year of 506
- Decision rates increased from 45 to almost 50 percent.
- Reconsideration approval rates on a national level also increased from 13 to 14 percent
SSDI applicants are already facing enough challenges in their lives without navigating through a complex bureaucracy. An experienced attorney in this complicated area of the law can help move the process along and secure the benefits they need.