The word "backlog" isn't music to anyone's ears. To be sure, backlogs are common problems that occur in many contexts. Anyone who has ever waited among the stacked-up patients in a doctor's waiting room knows this very well.
But knowing this doesn't necessarily make it easier to deal with the high year-end volume of applications for Social Security disability benefits - especially if you need the disability payments to pay your bills.
The volume of disability applications this year would meet anyone's definition of a backlog. According to the Social Security Administration, there were over 800,000 claims pending at the recent end of the fiscal year.
To be precise, there were 816,575 claims pending at the hearing stage when FY 2012 ended. And the average processing time was 353 days - or nearly a year.
It's true that the average processing time came down slightly in the past year, from 360 days to 353. But 353 days is still nearly a year.
One thing at least is clear. The likelihood of a delay is all the more reason to get started now on your application. Merely putting in the application won't immediately address your financial challenges. But it's important to get the ball rolling, in order to navigate the approval process as quickly as you can.
This is especially so given the number of applications for Social Security disability insurance benefits that are initially rejected. More than two-thirds of initial applications for SSDI are denied by the Social Security Administration.
That doesn't mean you can't be successful on appeal. Yet it does underscore the value of submitting your application as soon as you can.
Source: "Social Security Disability Backlog At Fiscal Year-end, Reports Allsup," StlToday, 11-29-12
Our firm handles situations similar to those discussed in this post. To learn more about our practice, please visit our Social Security disability page.