Law Office of Jennifer Zorrilla

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GAO highlights delays in SSDI application process

The protracted wait time for Social Security Disability benefits is negatively impacting the well-being of applicants, according to the Government Accountability Office.

A review of application and appeal procedures found applicants can sometimes be made to wait over 500 days before receiving benefits. This prolonged wait time can, unfortunately, have serious consequences. Many of the applicants are in poor health, financially dependent on their disability checks, or both.

Applying for SSDI benefits

The process begins when the person seeking benefits files an application with the Social Security Administration. The application may be under consideration for months before the applicant receives a response. Unfortunately, sometimes the benefits granted are less than the amount requested or denied outright. The applicant may appeal the decision, in which case the matter is adjudicated by administrative law judge.

The study found that many applicants may end up in poverty while awaiting the adjudication of their claims, with around one percent forced into bankruptcy. It should be noted that federal employees seeking FERS benefits are subject to the same process, as FERS applications also run through the SSA.

To expedite the process, many applicants are seeking the assistance of an attorney. Attorneys who handle Social Security Disability Insurance cases are intimately familiar with the application process.

An experienced attorney knows how to structure an application to increase the likelihood of approval. If the application is denied, they have deep knowledge of the appeals process and understand what evidence will carry weight during an adjudicative hearing.

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