Social Security Administration budget cuts have led to cost-saving measures such as hiring freezes and staff cuts. Those applying for disability benefits are now facing longer wait times due to such underfunding and inadequate staffing. Many Ohioans are left waiting months, sometimes years, to get a decision on their Social Security disability claims.
This trend is not limited to Ohio; people across the country are waiting an average of 19 months, according to a recent SSA report. Many people suffering from serious injury or disease are subject to longer wait times while they are out of work and unable to obtain gainful employment.
SSA requirements for disability benefits include having a disability that renders full time work impossible due to its severity and being unable to perform any type of job. If the judge believes an applicant is still capable of working, they may not be awarded SSD benefits.
In Ohio, applications are considered by the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation in a two step-process which can take up to a year. More than sixty percent of claims are initially denied, but three levels of appeals are allowed by the Ohio Industrial Commission. However, in certain parts of the country, applicants are waiting more than two years for their initial hearing.
An SSA regional spokesman says that the agency is attempting to streamline the process and increase productivity. To expedite the process as much as possible, applicants should make sure to comply with all SSA requirements and deadlines. Claims are often denied due to unestablished medical requirements related to proving an applicant’s inability to work. An experienced Social Security Disability attorney may be able to help with the intricacies of the initial filing process and subsequent appeals.
Source: Cleveland.com, Wait for a Social Security disability decision drags on months – and years – for many Ohioans, Brie, Zeltner, Dec. 18, 2017