Oklahomans cannot help but see the repeated news reports about the extensive wait time that applicants for Social Security disability benefits must endure. It can be problematic for people who need the assistance that comes from SSD benefits to wait for time periods that can reach years. However, as the issue becomes more pronounced and the Social Security Administration is under greater scrutiny for it, people are actively seeking methods to get beyond the wait time if possible. While it can be difficult, there are circumstances under which it might be possible to decrease that wait time.
One case that sparked concern over the wait time involves a woman whose husband died as he waited for a decision. In 2016, an estimated 7,400 people who were on wait lists for SSD benefits died. There are more than 1 million Americans who wait an average of two years to get a hearing. In Texas, where the woman whose husband died lives, has a wait time of nearly 500 days. Ironically, this is shorter than much of the U.S., according to the SSA. But there is hope for people who are experiencing this issue.
There is a misplaced belief that complaining will be a negative in the case. In truth, it is thought that when the SSA is facing scrutiny over media reports of people experiencing extended wait times, they tend to move faster. Beyond going public, there are useful strategies that might speed the process. If, for example, the person is a hardship case and is either homeless, living in a shelter, lives with relatives or friends, or has no utilities in their home, they can seek an expedited hearing.
If the applicant is a wounded veteran, has a terminal illness, or is contemplating suicide, the process can also be expedites. If there is a belief that the SSA has treated the claimant unfairly, a complaint can be filed. For people who are concerned about the wait time before filing or are in the middle of an extended wait for a hearing, a legal professional experienced with all aspects of Social Security disability can be of assistance.
Source: star-telegram.com, "Steps to take if you're mired in the Social Security disability process," Jeff Caplan, Dec. 8, 2017