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Disability hearings take too long with staffing issues

Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits seem, to those who seek the benefits, like a dire need. It seems as if the government should expedite the process to get benefits to those who require them as fast as possible.

In reality, the opposite is often what happens. Appeals and hearings can take an incredibly long time.

For instance, one man served in the military and dealt with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after getting out. It was disabling and he was unable to work.

He decided to seek benefits in April 2012. His initial application was denied. He decided to appeal the following spring, in May 2013. After he did so, he had to wait all the way until March 2015 for that hearing -- nearly two years. The result of that long wait? He got denied again.

He would not stop, and he appealed again. This time, it was to the federal court. However, the higher court sent the case back down to the lower court in December 2016.

Two years later, in April 2018, he still does not have a final decision. All he's trying to do is get Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), and he's now been trying for six years. It could be longer before he gets a resolution.

Part of the problem is short staffing. The demand, as baby boomers grow older, is just going up. The Social Security Administration (SSA) hasn't brought on enough new workers to keep up. Even when the staff does all they can, wait times are unavoidable.

If you are interested in your SSD options, this shouldn't stop you. But it should show you how arduous the process can be and why it's very important to understand all of the legal options you have.

Source: The Washington Post, "Short staffing leads to long waits for Social Security disability hearing decisions," Joe Davidson, April 03, 2018

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