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Need Disability Benefits? You May Be In For A Long Wait

The stress of living with a disability can be overwhelming, but the added stress of dealing with the system to collect Social Security Disability payments can make it even worse. A backlog of cases has significantly increased the amount of time that applicants have to wait to get their benefits approved.

Recent reports indicate that applications for Social Security retirement and disability benefits have skyrocketed in recent years. This is likely due to the growing number of baby boomers who are reaching retirement age and the struggling job market.

As a result, people who apply for disability benefits face wait times of several months to several years. In fact, some people trying to get disability benefits wait so long that they actually die before their claims are approved.

Need for appeals prolongs application process

About 63 percent of those who apply for Social Security Disability benefits have their initial applications denied after waiting for about 111 days. In most cases, this denial is because of a mistake that the applicant made when filling out the paperwork required to make a claim.

After being denied benefits, applicants can appeal the initial decision, which can further increase the wait times. However, an appeal can be well worth the wait. People who go through the appeals process can have their case heard by an administrative law judge, and in 63 percent of those cases, the applicants are awarded disability benefits.

How disability applications are processed

When someone applies for Social Security Disability benefits, their file is reviewed by a committee that includes disability specialists and physicians who look at a number of factors to determine if the applicant can’t work.

Some of the criteria that the committee considers include the date of onset of the applicant’s medical condition, the treatment that the applicant has received for the condition, and the medical tests that the applicant received to diagnose the condition.

In addition, applicants must be able to prove that they are unable to perform the physical or mental requirements of their jobs as a result of their disabilities.

Get help with your disability claim

If you need help collecting your disability benefits, consult a disability advocate who can advise you of your rights and help you with your claim. Dealing with the process of collecting disability benefits can be frustrating and complicated and a knowledgeable disability advocate may be able to help.