In any other environment, a reduction in Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) claims would speed up the process of applicants given formal notification that they are approved. If the recent worldwide pandemic taught us anything is that COVID-19 has had a unique impact on all aspects of life in the United States and worldwide.
A pandemic-driven problem
The SSDI benefits process was not spared. In reality, fewer applications resulted in an increase in the time it takes to process them, according to a December 2021 report by the Social Security Administration’s Office of the Inspector General (OIG).
From April 2020 to March 2021, SSDI applications processed by State Disability Determination Services (DDS) offices decreased 15.9 percent compared to the same period from 2019 to 2020. However, processing times for former workers’ claims increased 46 percent.
The report cites that DDS offices nationwide received a smaller number of reconsideration appeals and fewer continuing disability reviews (CDRs) during that same period compared to past data. Cited as possible reasons is a perfect storm of nationwide closings of Social Security and DDS offices that led to plummeting in-person support and skyrocketing phone calls requesting assistance.
The application process is already complex, with numerous long forms and medical reviews, not to mention hearings and appeals. For many, the steps necessary to secure approval can become overwhelming. Placing trust in a skilled and experienced attorney with a thorough knowledge of the bureaucratic process can provide a certain peace of mind and hope for a successful application that results in well-deserved benefits.