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Federal hiring freeze likely to impact SSD appeals backlog

Suffering a disability due to an illness or injury can be difficult on individuals in Texas and elsewhere. Obtaining financial assistance is often necessary, and various government programs make this possible. Nonetheless, individuals suffering serious disabilities encounter challenges when it comes to recovering the benefits they are rightfully entitled to.

Like most Americans, Houston residents are well aware of the backlog when it comes to claims and appeals for Social Security Disability (SSD.) For those appealing a decision on SSD benefits, it is likely that this process could take more than a year. In fact, it could be more than a year before the initial appeal is heard.

According to recent reports, the current federal hiring freeze implemented by President Trump is likely going to exacerbate this already problematic backlog. A hiring freeze prevents the hiring of future employees; however, there is no freezing of the number of individuals suffering disabling injuries and illnesses. Thus, those initially denied benefits will likely have to wait much longer to have their appeals heard and attempt to recover SSD benefits.

Prior to the hiring freeze, the average appeal action took 526 days. The Social Security Administration expects that this freeze will worsen the backlog, causing the length of time in the process to increase. Because many of the individuals seeking SSD benefits are suffering financially due to the inability to work, waiting even longer to have their appeals heard is likely to generate more hardships.

Whether you are filing an initial claim or filing an appeal, it is important that disabled individuals and their loved ones understand the rights afforded to them. An experienced attorney could help guide you through the process and answer any questions you might have.

Source: Bloomberg.com, "Trump's Hiring Freeze May Worsen 526-Day Disability Case Backlog," Josh Eidelson, Jan. 27, 2017

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