Living with a disability is a challenge in itself; however, seeking benefits to ease a person's life can also be a struggle. Putting together a successful Social Security disability claim can take time. Of course, some of this time is spent building an initial claim that seeks to meet the federal requirements. But even those who think they have put together a strong case may see their claim denied. When this happens, the process can be lengthened considerably.
In fact, new statistics show that the average wait time for an appeal is 596 days. That's nearly two years, rising from a wait time of 353 in 2012. One reason for the excessive delay is that there is a backlog of cases waiting to be heard. It currently stands at more than 1 million cases, which the Social Security Administration attributes to aging Baby Boomers who are now more susceptible to disability.
Although the appeals wait time may be frustrating, to say the least, that's not the only problem facing those seeking SSD benefits. Another issue is that, despite popular belief, only a little over a third of claimants are eventually awarded the benefits they seek. Yet, successfully obtaining these benefits can be crucial, as many claimants have already used up all of the unemployment benefits and even personal savings. The wait time and the fact that they may not obtain benefits can cause these claimants to face financial ruin. Many even wind up filing for bankruptcy.
If nothing else, these depressing statistics highlight the importance of piecing together a strong case before proceeding with a claim. By putting one's best foot forward from the get-go, an individual may be able to avoid the wait time and quickly obtain the benefits he or she deserves. Even when a claim is denied, though, it is worth fighting on appeal, especially since, if awarded, benefits can be back-dated to the time when the disability presented itself. Those who want to learn more about how to build a strong disability case may want to discuss the matter with an attorney who is experienced in this field.