The United States Government Accountability Office (GAO)’s newest report indicates that the wait times applicants experience when filing for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits poses a significant burden on many.
If you know anybody who has had to go through the disability application process or if you have started the process yourself, this probably isn’t exactly news to you. However, the GAO report does provide insights that may astound many. The wait times are likely worse than you think and, if history is any example, they’re about to get even longer.
In 2019, the median wait time for an approval was 506 days — more than a year. That’s actually an improvement, however, over the 839 days — more than two years — that applicants could expect to wait in 2015 following a huge uptick in claims after the Great Recession. Roughly 41% of the people who filed their claims that year were still waiting on an appeal at the end of 2017, and another 10% would still be waiting at the end of 2018.
The GAO report noted that the inability of applicants to earn a living while they wait on their claim can force many into desperate financial situations, and the lack of medical coverage for many with serious health conditions can even prove fatal.
Now, in 2020, the agency is bracing for another huge surge in disability claims thanks to the recent economic downturn the nation has experienced. That’s likely to drive up wait times even further.
More than ever, it’s critically important to get your SSDI claim approved as early as possible, without going through lengthy appeals. Don’t let a simple mistake or an easily fixable problem lead to your claim’s denial. Talk to an experienced advocate and see what they can do to help.