Number of Americans Awaiting Disability Appeals Decisions Growing

A new study reveals that the logjam of pending disability appeals has grown so that 741,000 Americans are now awaiting hearings that will determine their eligibility for Social Security Disability; that’s a five percent increase from last year.

The report from the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse at Syracuse University, which looked at data through March 31, 2011, explains that this increase can be attributed in part to the larger number of disabled people who can’t find jobs during the recession.

“History shows that if this growth is unchecked, as hearing dockets become more and more clogged, wait times will grow,” says the study.

Responding to the report in USA Today, Social Security Administration Commissioner Michael Astrue said that while the agency is working to reduce its average wait time from 367 days to 270 days by 2013, he’s not certain that the agency will meet its goal.

“I think we will continue to make progress,” said Astrue. “Whether we will hit the goal on time … I don’t know. I think we will be close.”

Among other impediments, Astrue says federal budget cuts have nixed plans to open eight additional hearing offices.

Read more.

If you’ve had to wait for a disability hearing, how long was your wait? Do you think lengthy wait times are a problem?

If you need help with your Social Security Disability benefits, contact the Social Security Disability lawyers at Fleschner, Stark, Tanoos & Newlin.

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