Even by the standards of the federal government, the backlog for appeals involving applications for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits is daunting. According to a Washington Post story, it is within a few thousand cases of reaching 1,000,000 cases. They calculated it as being at 990,399 cases.
One would think that given that the Social Security Administration (SSA) has more administrative law judges to work these cases than the entire federal judiciary that hears criminal and civil cases, they would have sufficient staff to deal with appeals.
But they don't. Ironically, as the baby boom has aged and began to suffer failures with their bodies that leave them disabled, Congress has cut funding for the agency. Additionally, issues like sequestration and the government shutdown also play a role in reducing the SSA's ability to process these applications for SSDI benefits.
The application is complex, and that complexity increases with the complexity of the disabling impairments and medical conditions. You will read of some applicants obtaining benefits within months. Some do, but they typically are suffering from a severe condition listed under the SSA's compassionate allowances program.
If you do not have one of those conditions, in order to avoid denials and delays requiring appeals, you need to be certain that all of your medical information is complete and up to date.
This is where an attorney can be helpful, as they understand how to present the medical documentation that supports your claim for disability in the best way possible. They also can quickly respond to inquiries from the SSA for additional information that can make difference between a denial and your application being allowed.
The Washington Post, "'It's just maddening. There’s nothing you can do.'" David A. Fahrenthold, October 18, 2014