We've touched on this before; Social Security Disability cases can take along time. Some cases will take longer than others, but with the most recent reports coming in, it appears as if all cases may start taking just a little bit longer. We want to keep you informed of these changes, no matter how big or small. If there is a change in the system that could possibly affect you and how long it takes to receive benefits, you deserve to know.
As of May 27, 2011, Social Security Administration Commissioner Michael Astrue began questioning the recent increase in pending appeals. At present time, more than 740,000 individuals are awaiting an appeal of their case. The current number of individuals awaiting appeal has grown 5% in the last year alone, which could very possibly increase the wait time. According to the Transaction Records Access Clearinghouse, a data research organization at Syracuse University, "history shows that if this growth is unchecked, as hearing dockets become more and more clogged, wait times will grow" (USA Today, June 23, 2011).
If there is an increase in wait, the extra time can, and will be, used to your benefit. Sometimes when cases progress quickly, there isn't enough time to gather as much support as we would like. With any extra time, we will use it to your advantage, spending the extra days following up with doctors and medical centers to make sure we have all past medical records and current support we can get; in the end, it will help us to establish the strongest case we can on your behalf.
While the continued increase may seem daunting, as extended wait time is the opposite of what anyone is hoping for, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Commissioner Astrue has indicated that there are measures in currently in place to speed up the decision making process. And, for those applying for benefits, the bottom line is quicker decisions-and hopefully a quicker route to much needed benefits.
The bottom line for us is to keep you informed; it helps us as we continue to do things Better and Nicer. If you are a client and have any questions or concerns about your case, or its status, feel free to contact us. We would be more than happy to let you know how it's progressing with the Social Security Administration, and give you an update on the status of your case in our office.