Allsup reports latest 50-state ranking of 1.1 million claimants waiting for hearings and importance of help when claimants apply for Social Security disability benefits
Belleville, Illinois — June 1, 2017 — The national average wait time is just 17 days shy of 600 days, an all-time high for claimants waiting in the immense Social Security disability hearing backlog, according to Allsup, which has released its latest state ranking of the hearing backlog. Allsup is the nation’s premier disability representation company and has helped more than 275,000 people to receive their Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits.
Nationwide, more than 1.1 million people are waiting an average 583 days for a hearing before an administrative law judge (ALJ), according to Social Security Administration (SSA) quarterly data.
“We’re almost halfway through the year, which means most of these individuals waiting are certainly not going to receive their hearing in 2017, and probably not in 2018,” said Mike Stein, Allsup assistant vice president. “We are representing many individuals who still haven’t received a hearing date since filing their appeal in the fall of 2015.”
States making up the top 10 with the most people stuck in the SSDI hearing backlog are: California, New York, Florida, Pennsylvania, Texas, Ohio, Michigan, North Carolina, Tennessee and Alabama. Almost 50 percent of U.S. hearing offices now report waits of 600-plus days, including 14 offices whose times exceed 700 days affecting 111,296 claimants. In comparison, only 3 hearing offices had waits over 600 days at fiscal year-end 2015.
The ranking is based on the latest data provided by the SSA through April 28, 2017.
Congress recently designated $90 million in its federal budget for the SSA to address the disability hearing backlog. Efforts to address the backlog include hiring additional ALJs and other staff.
One way individuals can improve their likelihood of avoiding the SSDI hearing backlog is to apply for disability benefits with help from a knowledgeable representative. Stein said getting help with the initial application can mean the difference between getting benefits in a matter of months instead of a matter of years.
“Through our online tool, empower by Allsup®, we work to ensure the most critical and accurate information is provided to the Social Security disability examiners, who decide the initial claims,” he explained. “You can avoid the long wait for a hearing if you can apply for SSDI and get your benefits with your initial application.”
empower combines a Free SSDI Assessment for eligibility and Social Security disability application support, along with return-to-work guidance for those who may medically recover. Allsup has a 50% success rate at the application level, compared to the national average of 33%.
With empower, people with disabilities can learn their likelihood of being eligible for SSDI benefits in about 15 minutes. Individuals also can start their online application with Allsup as their representative and benefit from Allsup’s SSDI expertise, user-friendly videos, and customer support online. They also can receive help to return to work with Allsup Employment Services by using the Ticket to Work program when they medically stabilize.
To qualify for SSDI benefits, individuals must have paid FICA payroll taxes, generally worked five of the past 10 years, and have a severe work-disrupting illness or injury expected to last at least 12 months or is terminal. Applicants also must be under full retirement age (65-67).