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Social Security disability delays increase due to pandemic

The last year has been difficult for most everybody. It has not been uncommon for individuals to have had to change the ways in which the handle many areas of their lives, including how they work. For people with disabilities who are unable to work, the situation may have become even more dire as the Social Security Administration closed its offices for health and safety reasons, putting Social Security Disability Insurance applications on further delay. 

The pandemic has had numerous effects on SSDI applicants and the process for applying for benefits, including: 

  • Creating a 30% increase in the backlog of applications waiting for a decision, which was already an issue pre-pandemic 
  • Increasing the average decision time for an application to 131 days, an 11-day increase 
  • Causing greater financial strain on applicants who have not yet received a decision or their first payments 
  • Triggering increased rates of mental health issues, such as depression, among applicants waiting decisions 

There is hope that President Biden’s 2022 budget proposal will help get some of these issues under better control. The budget proposed a $1.3 billion increase in funding to the SSA, which could help reopen offices and cover other expenses associated with better streamlining application processing time. Of course, until that goes into effect, applicants may continue to struggle, and surveys have indicated that 40% of people waiting on a decision have had had to borrow funds from friends or family. 

Because delays in receiving Social Security Disability Insurance benefits can have such challenging results, it is important that applicants do what they can to ensure that their applications are complete. Providing as much information as possible about the condition and ensuring that all application forms are filled out properly could go a long way in helping applications move forward as quickly as possible. In efforts to create a solid application, concerned individuals may want to enlist the help of experienced legal professionals. 

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