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Question and Answer With Charles Binder: Part 2

We've reached out to our fans on Facebook again, and asked for their questions--and Charles Binder is providing the answers! Below, a client asks a very important question regarding the length of time it takes to get a hearing

Question: Why does it take over two years for you to get a hearing from social security when you take over the claim?

Charles Binder's Answer: It does not always take two years to get a hearing and it has nothing to do with us or any other representative. First, SSA is unbelievably inefficient. Secondly, the number of recent claims filed by Baby Boomers has overwhelmed the system. This was expected when they did a study in 1983 and slightly altered the Social Security Act (at one time in history, Congress actually functioned). As we all know, the years following World War II were years that many returning soldiers started families. These children are now entering the prime disability years--58-66--so many who have become disabled are applying.

In addition, the Great Recession has also forced many marginal workers, those people who are less valuable to employers, to apply for disability when they were let go. A marginal worker is someone an employer might keep on despite his or her disability when the economy is strong (as it was during the Clinton Presidency) because when the economy is booming it is better to have a weak employee than to have the job go unfilled. When the economy goes south as it did under President Bush, employers are forced to let go employees and naturally they choose to let go the least productive, those who because of their disabilities are not as valuable as an unimpaired worker. These marginal workers have applied for disability because they are not able to hold a competitive job. So there are more people applying for disability than normal.

On the other side of the coin, the Social Security Administration has been gradually reducing staff for the last few years. There are approximately 10% less employees than there were 5 years ago. So we have less and less federal employees handling more and more cases, which is why delays are longer and longer. None of this has anything to do with our representation. We want clients to have their hearings as soon as possible. It is more efficient for us and I want clients to get their back due benefits as soon as possible. If I were running the SSA, each ALJ would handle more cases and I'd hire enough staff to get decisions done quickly. The previous Commissioner made it his priority to get the hearing delays shortened and to some extent succeeded. The Acting Commissioner, who has been nominated for the permanent job, has not made hearing delays her priority and the number of days to get a hearing has grown steadily under her. Nevertheless it is expected that her nomination will go through.

**Do you have a question about Social Security Disability that you'd like Charles to answer personally? Leave your question here as a comment, send us a message with your question on our Facebook page, or send a quick email to We ask that you be respectful with your questions, and avoid questions specific to your own claim as we are unable to answer them publically**

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