In 2013, the Social Security Administration plans to provide 11 million Americans with $143 billion in Social Security disability benefits, and officials are asking Congress to provide them with enough funding to process the thousands of claims.
The SSA has asked Congress for $11.9 billion in 2013, an increase from the 2012 budget of $11.6 billion. Although SSDI benefits come from a trust fund, the SSA needs the money to run the program.
In 2011, the SSA had close to 760,000 disability claims pending and almost 790,000 hearings. Although people typically wait 345 days for hearing decisions, the SSA wants to bring that waiting period down to 270 days. In 2008, the waiting period reached an all-time high at 532 days.
The tough economic times and aging population appear to be contributing to the increase in applications for disability benefits. In 2013, the SSA expects to receive 1.1 million initial claims and complete 960,000 hearings.
Disability benefits can be very valuable for those who receive them. Many of the millions of Americans who receive the benefits rely on them to live a normal life, but it is not always easy to get them. Because of the long waiting periods and vast amount of paperwork that is necessary, it may be wise for an individual applying for SSDI benefits to work with an attorney. An attorney can help an individual throughout the entire application process and beyond. In some cases, an individual will be initially denied benefits, but an attorney can guide them through the appeal process as well.
Source: LifeHealthPRO, “Budget 2013: SSA Pleads for Disability Help,” Allison Bell, Feb. 17, 2012