According to the Baltimore Sun, one Social Security Administration office that reviews disability claims for Central Maryland has the third-longest processing delay in the nation, a problem that is a growing national concern.
The backlog in the state for SSA services has reportedly prompted a member of its congressional delegation to call for action. The office in question, located in Baltimore, has an average of 17 months for a hearing, agency data shows. That is longer than in New York, Philadelphia, Los Angeles and more than 150 other offices, the Sun reported.
The news source reported that only offices in Chicago and Fort Myers, Florida have longer wait times. “That’s unacceptable,” state Rep. C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger told the Sun.
“[Those awaiting services] have had to file for bankruptcy, some have lost their homes, some have even died before getting a penny of the benefits they were entitled to,” Ruppersberger said to the paper.
The politician said that he is asking the agency to draw up a plan to address the delays. Meanwhile, the SSA said that stagnant funding imposed by Congress has exacerbated wait times in some offices nationally.
A representative for the SSA said that the agency reduced wait times across the system significantly from 2007 to 2011, according to the Sun. However, due to the failure of the federal government to budget what the SSA has requested over the last three years, wait times are beginning to increase.
According to the Sun, SSA data shows there are 11,530 cases pending in the Baltimore office, up 26 percent from 9,110 two years ago.
Is There a Way to Expedite the Disability Application Process?
It is unfortunate that wait times for SSI or SSDI applications are increasing after they were beginning to gradually reduce. If you are waiting for a determination of benefits, there are several options.
First, you could try to take advantage of any fast track SSI or SSDI programs for which you may qualify. SSI benefits can be available immediately through a presumptive disability (“PD”) program if you lost a limb, are completely blind, are completely deaf or suffer from another severe disability.
Additionally, the SSA runs a Compassionate Allowances (“CAL”) program by which you can qualify for a fast-tracked process if you suffer from one of the conditions currently on the CAL list.
You may also want to look into programs such as food stamps or state public assistance benefits, which may help you while you wait for benefits.
Given the lengthy wait times being reported across the country, we also suggest working with an experienced SSDI lawyer. For more information about the application process, help is available from our Tulsa Oklahoma Social Security disability attorneys. Contact us today.
Troutman & Troutman, P.C. – Tulsa Social Security disability lawyers