Disability Benefits Backlogs Worsen: Are States Cutting Back?
Applications for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits continue to skyrocket. So why are states laying off workers who process disability benefits claims?
Social Security Commissioner Michael Astrue thinks it is “fundamentally irrational” for some states to be cutting back like this. In a recent USA Today report, he was quoted as saying that disability, unemployment, and food stamps are federally funded. “People should be getting their benefits,” he said. So why are states adding on more hardship?
According to the Social Security inspector general, the average waiting time to process initial claims has increased from 81 days in 2008 to 83 days in 2009. The number of people waiting for their disability check spiked to 768,666, a 38 percent increase.
States feeling the strain of the spike in unemployment rates, as well as an increase in disability claims from aging baby boomers with disabling medical conditions, are also struggling with the length of the recession.
It seems we’re taking one step forward, and then two steps back. Federal dollars are being pumped into states to improve technology, but states are slow to catch up.
If you have a disability and think you are eligible for benefits, it would be wise for you to get the SSDI application process started as soon as possible because it could take a long time to get the benefits you need.