The backlog of disability cases before the Social Security Administration is bigger than ever, and growing. Plans to reduce the backlog have been underway since 2007 but budget cuts and a weak economy are adding to the problem. The latest government data reveals that about 3.3 million people sought benefits in 2011, and at the end of September a record 771,318 were waiting to have their cases heard on appeal by administrative law judges.
We at Rob Levine and Associates are finding it is currently taking about twenty-four (24) months from the date of application to the day of the hearing. This timeframe becomes even longer if you delay in returning paperwork or filing appeals (proper and punctual paperwork processing and filing of appeals is something you can count on when you hire a good Social Security lawyer). And the record number of cases is not only affecting the Social Security Administration. Doctors’ offices are processing more and more requests for medical records. The wait for updated medical records from a medical provider can hold up a case for months.
Our experienced Social Security lawyers and staff will closely monitor your pending SSI or SSDI case and we will establish regular contact with your caseworker at Disability Determination Services. This allows us to identify and resolve problems that interfere with a timely decision, so your case will move through the process as quickly as possible. Although the longest delay occurs at the hearing level, we will contact your doctors for disability assessments prior to your hearing in hopes of securing a favorable decision without the need for a hearing.
While a significant reduction in the number of cases waiting for a decision is not likely to occur anytime soon, obtaining representation early on can save you time in the processing of your claim. If you’re in the process of applying or if you’re just starting the process, call us for a free Social Security evaluation.