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House votes to increase funding for disability benefits appeals

The U.S. House of Representatives recently voted to allocate $300 million to help the Social Security Administration cut down waiting times for people seeking appeals for their disability benefits applications. If the measure becomes law, it could help address a problem that has plagued the Social Security Disability system for years.

Many people in Texas who find that, long before they are eligible for retirement, they are no longer able to work for a living because of illness or injury. The Social Security Disability Insurance system can provide them with benefits that will provide them with income, but unfortunately the system does not always work smoothly.

The hard truth is that most applicants for SSD benefits are turned down the first time they apply, and must go through a process of hearings and, when necessary, appeals. This can take a long time. For years, applicants, lawyers and others have complained that the wait times for appeals are too long. By some estimates, the national average for processing appeals is as high as 515 days.

If the House bill makes it through the Senate and the president signs it into law, the new funding may be earmarked specifically for addressing the backlog of cases on appeal. The Social Security Administration says it will use the money to hire more administrative law judges and staff. It also plans to improve its computer system and telephone service center.

Waiting for applications and appeals to go through the system can be incredibly frustrating. A lawyer with experience in Social Security Disability benefits can help people through the process, giving them advice on the best ways to speed up their applications and arguing on their behalf at hearings.

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