A person's inability to work due to a work-related injury, or even an accident injury outside the workplace, may qualify the person for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits. When the injury is severe enough that the person will be unable to work for an extended period of time, SSD benefits can help him or her cover medical expenses and other normal living expenses. But what is the typical wait time to secure these benefits?
Currently, the average wait time to get disability benefits nationally is 19 months and 22 days. Roughly 1.1 million people are waiting to get hearings on their claims. The wait has become so lengthy that people may be dying while their application for benefits is still pending at the Social Security Administration (SSA).
A study that came out in 2014 showed that 42,000 people died while waiting for SSD benefits between 1996 and 2007. It is now ten years later, and little has changed except that the numbers of disability claimants are increasing, while the number of administrative law judges who are available to dispose of those claims have decreased. Likewise, budget constraints at the SSA make it difficult for the organization to hire additional judges to sort through the pending claims.
People in the Houston area who are applying for SSD benefits for an injury should understand what they are up against with regard to wait times. The long application and hearing process make it even more critical for applicants to submit accurate and thorough claims information. An SSD attorney may be able to help claimants through all steps of the process and attempt to ensure that the SSA handles the application as efficiently as possible.
Source: The Des Moines Register, "A million-man waiting list for disability benefits," Dec. 25, 2016