The Social Security Administration recently announced a hiring freeze, which could increase the backlog in Social Security Disability cases.
Andrew Saul, the new SSA Commissioner, announced the freeze on July 31, and the notice stated the freeze was enacted in an effort to help improve hearings and field office wait times.
The freeze affects all headquarters and regional offices.
Hiring Freeze Announced After Nearly Decade-Long Budget Cuts
This announcement comes in the wake of nearly a decade of significant cuts in the administration. As reported in a previous blog post, The SSA has made reductions in staff as its operating budget was decreased by 9% from 2010-2018.
In that time, 67 field offices were closed, resulting in roughly 2,000 less field office staff members to serve beneficiaries.
This decrease in offices and staff occurred although the number of beneficiaries increased by 17%, contributing to the backlog in cases.
The Effect of SSA Budget Cuts Felt Sharply by Disability Applicants
Increased wait times in an already complex process can be challenging for those applying for disability benefits. One of the most shocking and tragic outcomes of the backlog in cases is that many applicants die while waiting for an appeal.
In fact, 9,714 people died while waiting for an appeal in 2016.
Uncertainty About Effects of the Freeze
The recent freeze may affect the hiring of a new class of Administrative Law Judges. The hiring of more judges could help decrease wait times, as the average wait time for a hearing is a year and a half.
We Can Help
If you are disabled and unable to work, call Disability Attorneys of Michigan for a free confidential consultation. We’ll let you know if we can help you get a monthly check and help you determine if any money or assets you receive could impact your eligibility for disability benefits.
Disability Attorneys of Michigan works hard every day helping the disabled of Michigan seek the Social Security Disability Benefits they need. If you are unable to work due to a physical, mental, or cognitive impairment, call Disability Attorneys of Michigan now for a free consultation at 800-701- 5524.
Let Michigan’s experienced Social Security Disability law firm help you get the benefits you deserve.