Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) claimants are losing the battle with illness and injury falling through social safety net waiting for hearings on their disability claims. I periodically update the status of the average processing times at the hearing offices and the numbers have only increased over the last several years. Information recently released by the Social Security Administration (SSA) indicates that between September 26, 2015 and September 1, 2016, that 7,897 Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) claimants died while their hearing requests were pending before hearing offices. Additionally, as of March of 2016, there were 1,090 claimants whose cases had received critical case status for terminal illness while awaiting hearings and they still waited an average of 189 days and that 63 of those claimants died while awaiting a hearing. The current national average processing time is 487 days which is up from 480 from the previous fiscal year.
Not to be too much of an alarmist, but there has already been discussion of a federal hiring freeze starting after the inauguration in January. This will only cause an increase in hearing wait times. It is very important that all of those concerned about the health and safety of the social security disability system and of those desperately needing benefits should contact their congressman or senator to protect and strengthen the system.
If you need more information about a Social Security Disability/SSI, personal injury, EEOICPA, long or short-term disability, Railroad Retirement Board disability, or a workers compensation matter, please contact the Law Offices of Tony Farmer and John Dreiser for a free case evaluation. We can be reached at (865) 584-1211 or (800) 806-4611 or through our website.