There are reports of a backlog at the Social Security Administration, and applicants in Tennessee and other states may experience delays in obtaining benefits. With an increasing number of applications for Social Security Disability Insurance, it could take up to 600 days for a hearing decision, as reported by the Washington Post. There are, however, certain medical conditions that may fast-track an application.
Not everyone, however, may be able to get around the beleaguered SSDI system. As a result of the backlog, a 54-year-old Army veteran who served in Afghanistan was still waiting to hear if he will receive his disability benefits after six years of filing an initial application.
Depression and post-traumatic stress disorder left the former Army captain unemployable. Not only did he retire from the armed forces for medical reasons, he is also a high-risk for suicide according to the Veterans Affairs Department.
When the Army captain initially filed for SSDI, he received his first denial. He filed an appeal and had his hearing with an administrative law judge in a little more than one year later. It took two more years for him to receive the results from that hearing, which was a second denial. He then appealed for a second time through a federal court, which sent his case back to the administrative law judge at the end of the following year.
While it may not take as long for an ordinary civilian to apply for and receive SSDI, there could still be overall delays in processing claims. These delays may contribute to applications not being processed quickly enough to avoid serious medical problems from developing.
Delays may result from an increasing number of aging baby boomers who are unable to work and are applying for benefits. There is also a shortage of staffing at the SSA and more applications from individuals suffering disabilities caused by long-term unemployment.
Social Security's Compassionate Allowances program may provide relief for some individuals who are experiencing certain medical conditions. According to the AARP, there are about 230 medical conditions that may help in shortening an SSDI claim's processing time. Rare genetic disorders, neurodegenerative diseases and certain types of cancers may cut down an applicant's approval time.