The House Ways and Means Social Security Subcommittee held a hearing on September 6, 2017 to discuss the current backlog of 1.1 million Americans who are waiting to have a hearing to see if they are eligible for disability benefits.
The facts about the hearing backlog are disturbing. Nationwide the current wait time is 596 days for a in-person hearing. The Social Security Administration estimates this wait will be more than 605 days by the end of September. According to the Social Security Administration over 70% of individuals waiting for a hearing are workers with an average work history of 22 years. In other words, these are workers who paid FICA payroll taxes for their disability insurance benefits for many years.
Perhaps even more distressing than the amount of time it takes to schedule a hearing is the time it takes for the agency to issue decisions following the hearing. In the second quarter of 2017, the Social Security Administration reported claimants were waiting an average of 85 days after their hearing for a decision. The backlog is so bad that the Social Security Administration that in 2016, 8,699 claimants died while waiting for hearing.
Unfortunately, the Social Security Administration estimates that the hearing wait time will not be reduced down to a nine-month wait until 2022. If you are waiting for a hearing, or thinking about applying for disability in Buffalo, contact the lawyers at Pashler & Devereaux, LLP to see if we can help.