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Backlog for SSD benefits devastating for applicants

Social Security Disability Insurance is a federal program that offers financial assistance to workers in Georgia - and across the country - who have sustained an injury or illness that has led to an inability to work. The funding for SSDI benefits comes from the withholding that workers have been paying throughout their careers. But, a backlogged system has prevented thousands of applicants from getting the assistance they need and have paid for.

Applying for Social Security Disability benefits can be challenging and burdensome for a worker who is already living with a life-changing injury or illness. The initial decision can take months to be processed. And, in the event the initial application is denied, the hearing and appeals process can take even longer. Some applicants have waited as long as 30 months to receive a hearing.

It currently takes about 18 months from the time an injured Georgia worker submits a request for a Social Security hearing until the hearing occurs. In 2017, more than 10,000 people died across the United States while awaiting an SSD hearing. The wait for a hearing in 2017 was longer than it had been in decades, averaging almost seven months longer than the wait in 2013.

At the beginning stages of the process, applicants can benefit from the advice and assistance of an attorney with SSDI benefits and appeals experience. An attorney can help avoid delays - and hopefully the need for a hearing - by making sure the application is completed correctly from the outset. Moreover, if a hearing is necessary, a seasoned lawyer can increase the odds of prevailing.

Source: Daily Herald, "Constable: 2 1/2 years after applying for Social Security disability, finally a hearing," Burt Constable, Jan. 13, 2018

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