Disability Waitlists Getting Longer: Could SSA Attorneys Lighten The Load?

Photo of injured man with crutchesThe year is almost halfway over, and around this time of the year, many government programs are evaluated to see how well they are performing. Do you know how well the Social Security Administration (SSA) is handling its caseload? Apparently the situation can be summed up in one word: crisis.

Are Disability Waitlists Getting Longer?

If you need to get a hearing to overturn a disability benefits denial, then you will have to get in line, and the line stretches 1.1 million people long. The average wait time to get through this line is now an estimated 525 days—which is five months longer than the 360-day wait time the SSA estimated back in 2012. If you also consider that the SSA’s wait time goal is 270 days, then you might also be able to understand why many are calling the Administration’s waitlist a crisis.

In the time it takes to get an appeal hearing before an administrative law judge, people have gone into bankruptcy, lost their homes to foreclosure, and some have even died. It is one of the biggest problems faced by the SSA, but officials are pitching a new idea to combat this dire problem.

How Can We Fix The SSA Waitlist?

The SSA wants to let agency attorneys hear some cases in order to lighten the load on administrative judges, but many critics don’t like the suggestion. Oklahoma Sen. James Lankford says that letting attorneys “beholden to the agency” hear these cases could lead to lawsuits or a rehearing of cases later on down the line. Lawsuits and extra hearings would not only cost taxpayers extra money, but it would also worsen the backlog that’s dragging down the agency’s progress.

Oklahoma has over 13,000 people on that waiting list right now, but would seeing an SSA attorney be a better solution than waiting? Would it change your chances of getting an approval? Stick with our blog and go to Facebook or Twitter to tell us what you think about the situation.


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