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Social Security disability claimants facing record wait times

On Behalf of | Mar 14, 2024 | Social Security Disability

Wait times for Social Security disability claimants are on the rise. This is causing frustration among those seeking financial support due to disabilities. Several factors contribute to the lengthening of wait times. These factors impact the timeliness of disability benefit decisions. They also add to the burden faced by claimants.

Understanding the reasons behind the increasing wait times is helpful for anyone navigating the disability application process.

Growing backlog of claims

A key factor contributing to the increasing wait times for Social Security disability claimants is the growing backlog of claims. As the number of disability applications rises, the Social Security Administration struggles to process them promptly. The backlog of pending cases places strain on SSA resources. It also contributes to delays in scheduling disability hearings and issuing decisions, prolonging the wait for claimants.

Insufficient staffing and resources

Another contributing factor to the lengthening wait times is insufficient staffing and resources. Budget constraints and staffing shortages can impede the SSA’s ability to process claims. Without adequate resources, SSA personnel may struggle to conduct thorough reviews of applications. This can cause delays in decision-making, exacerbating wait times for claimants.

Complexity of determination process

The complexity of the disability determination process also creates delays in processing claims. Reviewing medical evidence, assessing functional limitations and determining eligibility for benefits require careful consideration. However, the intricate nature of disability evaluations can prolong the process. This is especially true when more medical documentation is necessary to make informed decisions.

Per AARP, most applicants wait about seven months to have their disability claim processed. Applicants who asked for reconsideration following denied claims also waited an average of seven months for a response.