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Could Waiting for a Social Security Hearing Cost You Your Life?

One of the most important things a Social Security Disability applicant or potential applicant is interested in finding out is the amount of time it will take to obtain a hearing if his or her application is denied. It is common knowledge that many applicants are denied upon their first application for SSD benefits. Applicants are often forced to appeal if they ever hope to secure these benefits. If the appeal, referred to as reconsideration, is denied, the applicant must ask for a hearing in front of an administrative judge.

Waiting for Social Security Disability Benefits

Unfortunately, this entire process can include extensive delays for the applicant. For instance, waiting for the reconsideration alone can take up to 3 to 6 months.

The average rate of SSD claim denial in the state is 72%. In 2017 alone, about 9,500 Tennesseans died waiting for a hearing on their appeal.

Average wait times to receive an SSA administrative hearing

The Social Security Administration (SSA) seems to understand that significant delays are occurring. It has developed a website that publishes the average weight time in months for an administrative hearing in the various offices throughout the nation. Currently, the website shows the average wait times for the month of May 2019 for cases that ended in that month.

For example, the average wait time for cases closed in the Phoenix hearing office last month (May) was 20 months. The average wait time for the Nashville office was 12 months.

Many offices around the nation had wait times much longer. For instance, the average wait time in the Rochester office was 22 months. The San Francisco office’s average wait time was 19 months. The shortest average wait time in May was recorded at the San Antonio office at 8 months.

The cost of SSD delays in lives

Waiting for Disability Reconsideration

The delays involved in this entire process can not only impose severe financial strain on the applicants and their families, but in many cases the wait has outlasted the lives of applicants. During the fiscal year 2016, 8,699 Americans died on the disability insurance waiting list. In 2017, that number increased to 10,002.

Nearly 9 million Americans rely on Social Security Disability Insurance. This insurance is a safety net that assists families that have paid into the system with Social Security taxes. According to the SSA, the average wait time for an individual to receive a hearing and a decision after appealing his or her disability claim is 540 days.

According to U.S. Rep. John Larson, D-Conn, every day about 10,000 baby boomers obtain eligibility to receive Social Security. The need among the population for Social Security benefits has been increasing at the rate of about 16% during the last decade. Compounding this is the fact that the SSA budget has decreased, when adjusted for inflation, by about 11% over the same period of time.

And thus, the issue of applicants waiting for their SSD benefits decision and sometimes dying in the process is a real and growing problem that must be addressed.

The process of making an application for and receiving SSD benefits can be quite complex, long, and drawn out. You need the proper legal support to help you avoid the potential pitfalls, build your case effectively, and obtain your rightful benefits. If your application for SSD has been denied, we can help. Our Tennessee Social Security disability attorneys at the Rocky McElhaney Law Firm are here to fight for you and your rights to the disability payments you deserve. From our offices in Nashville and Hendersonville, we serve clients in the surrounding areas. To set up a free consultation, give us a call today at 615.246.5549 or use our contact form.

Text Us615-425-2500