SSD: Not Enough Judges, Too Much Backlog
A recent article in the New York Times has let the public know what we have known for years. The number of judges handling Social Security disability hearings is entirely too low.
Delays in government bureaucracy are nothing new. Anyone who has had to take a trip to the DMV can testify to this fact. But at the DMV, all you have to worry about is a few wasted hours standing in line. With delays in disability hearing, real people are left in states of destitution and misery.
According to the article, there are currently only 1,025 judges handling disability appeals. This has lead to an average delay of over 500 days till a decision is made. Federal officials are predicting that unless more judges are hired, the delays are only going to get worse.
The article describes in detail the terrible state in which a disabled person has to live. The most gut-wrenching story is that of Belinda Virgil, a North Carolina woman who had her initial claim denied and has been waiting for three years for the appeals decision.
Ms. Virgil, who suffers from emphysema and sleep apnea, has lost her apartment and has to depend on the kindness of friends and relatives. She spends her days carting around an oxygen tank and is thoroughly incapable of doing any work at all.
The reason that no new judges have been hired is that there is a political deadlock in Congress among the House Appropriations Committee. It seems sad that those in congress can easily get funds for bridges to nowhere, “beautification projects” and various earmarks for their districts while disabled people all over America are living in dire conditions.
Since two thirds of the initial applications for Social Security Disability benefits are turned down, and the appeals process can take years, it is important that your initial application for benefits is as solid as it can possibly be. To help make this happen, you should acquire the services of an attorney that has years of experience in the applications process.
And even if you get denied on your initial claim, an attorney can not only help you through the appeals process, but help you explore other options for financial aid.
The attorneys at Cavey and Barrett are recognized throughout Florida as leading authorities on the disability application process. If you or a loved one is applying for Social Security Disability Benefits, contact our offices for a free legal consultation today.
Answering these broad-based questions isn’t easy. Help is a phone call away. You can contact Nancy Cavey, an experienced long-term disability attorney at 727-894-3188.