Disability System Faces Enormous Backlog of Cases
If you’ve been waiting for years to see your Social Security disability claim approved, you’re not alone: Over one million cases are currently backlogged in the system, waiting for appeals. The reasons for this backlog vary, but most come down to the following factors.
Increased caution regarding fraud. In 2011, a West Virginia judge was found guilty of accepting bribes in 3,100 disability cases. This resulted in about 550 million dollars of questionable Disability payments. Ever since, the administration has exercised considerably more caution to prevent similar instances of fraud, meaning they’re looking even more closely not only at cases, but at everyone involved in the process.
Judges under pressure. Ever since the West Virginia event, judges are under increasing pressure to thoroughly scrutinize cases. Judges are taking pains to document everything, even when treatments or conditions are unrelated to the primary disability. Unfortunately, this often translates into time wasted on non-pertinent details of cases that would otherwise be quickly approved.
Currently, cases brought by those under 50, and those resting on mental health claims, are experiencing the most trouble in the appeals process. If you’re over 50 and physically incapacitated, an approval can be easier to gain (although nothing is guaranteed).
Staffing issues. At the same time, judges face clerical staffing cuts. It can be difficult to know who is working on which case, and when the process will be completed.
The results. Increasing strain on the system leads to many cases being denied at every stage of the appeals process. Currently, slightly less than half of claims are denied by judges.
Some claimants, after waiting for years, either give up and withdraw their claims, or pass away before seeing their day in court. They system is often too backlogged to push through claims any faster.
This all sounds like dire news, but that doesn’t mean you’re powerless. We can help guide you through the appeals process, aid you in gathering the evidence you need, and hopefully get your claim approved sooner. Just give us a call, and we’ll review your case and help you decide how to proceed.