The long feared and much publicized sequestration appears to be on track to begin on March 1, as Congress appears incapable of meaningful action. Fortunately, for people receiving old age and SSDI benefits, those benefits will not be affected, as the now mandatory electronic delivery of payments, which also begins on March 1, is mostly automated. The rest of the SSA, however, will be affected by what could potentially be a billion dollars in cuts.
While many pretend that these are not “real” cuts, for people who rely on services from SSA, which means everything from calling on the phone with a questions, to going into a SSA office to receive help with an application for SSDI, will feel the cuts. It might mean a longer wait on hold, it may mean not being able to visit an office because they are closed one day a week, or it may be that your application for SSDI benefits takes longer to process and you have to go without those payments for yet another month.
And if you have to appeal a denial of benefits, your appeal is likely to take more than a year to process. The SSA had received additional funding a few years ago to help address the claims backlog and reduce the wait time, but those gains are likely to be lost, and the delays will return to levels from 2011 and before.
If you have a medical condition or injury that makes it impossible for you to work and earn income, SSDI benefits can provide that necessary safety line that prevents you from falling off your own fiscal cliff. With the coming reductions of staff for SSA, it becomes crucial to obtain help from an SSDI attorney, who can help you submit an application that can be process as quickly as possible.
Source: The Baltimore Sun, “Social Security braces for budget cuts, frustrated public,” John Fritze, February 25, 2013