Individuals unable to work due to a disability depend upon the benefits provided by the Social Security Administration to help them pay their expenses. Many of these people have had to go through a complicated application process before their requests to receive the benefits are approved, which greatly increases the financial strains that they may be feeling.
Recently, an extensive review of the Social Security Disability benefits program was completed by investigators with the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. The investigation concluded that the judges hearing the disability cases need to become stricter when deciding whether or not to approve applicants for benefits.
The investigators are concerned that there is an additional backlog of over 1 million cases that need to be reviewed, to ensure that those approved for benefits are still in need of them. The SSA alleges that budget cuts to its staff have prevented the agency from being able to complete these reviews.
If this report leads to pressure on the judges to deny disability claims, it could be much more difficult for disabled individuals to receive the benefits that they need. This could mean more hearings and more appeals, adding to an already lengthy wait.
Those considering filing for these benefits need to be aware of some of the issues that can arise during this process. It is extremely important that the initial requests for SSD benefits are complete, to perhaps improve the applicant’s chances of success. Some conditions may be more difficult than others to diagnose, so applicants need to be sure that they supply the appropriate medical information with their requests.
Individuals filing for SSD benefits, or those whose initial applications have been denied, may wish to speak to an experienced attorney about their claims. An attorney can explain the next steps, and can help the individual throughout the process.
Source: Source: NBC4i.com, “House investigators: Disability judges are too lax,” Stephen Ohlemacher, June 24, 2013.