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Social Security Administration cuts result in long wait times

If you're on Social Security Disability or are interested in obtaining benefits in the future, changes to the Social Security Administration's (SSA) budget could affect you. The SSA's proposed 2019 budget is going to be smaller than in the past. It would result in cutting back the number of staff members working at the SSA along with increasing the total time people would have to wait while applying for benefits.

Under the new budget, SSA workers would be allowed less than a third of the overtime they're currently allowed. There would be fewer federal employees, which means that those who are looking for disability, Medicare or survivor benefits would likely face much longer wait times.

The problem comes down to this: 10,000 people, on average, reach retirement each day. This, along with the current 627-day wait time for disability applicants is a recipe for a disaster.

To make an easy comparison, phone call waits while on the line to the SSA were three-minutes long, on average, in 2010. In 2017, the average wait was around 18 minutes. In Aug. 2017, there were over 16,000 people who had to wait an hour or longer for service.

Reportedly, the new budget would allow more focus on the national hotline and processing centers. It would also encourage more online activity, but that's not always good. Many elderly people trying to obtain disability or retirement are not comfortable using the internet.

If you plan to file for Social Security Disability, make sure you do it right the first time. If you make mistakes, you could have to appeal or refile, which takes longer with each attempt.

Source: PowerPost, "Trump’s Social Security budget offers more work, less staff, longer waits," Joe Davidson, Feb. 27, 2018

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