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Social Security Administration faces criticism over backlog

Most of our Los Angeles readers have probably heard the expression, "Patience is a virtue." However, for many people throughout the country who are going through the Social Security Disability application process, patience may be wearing thin.

According to a recent report, some people have to wait over a year for a final decision if their initial application is denied and they have to go through the appeals process. And, recent estimates put the number of pending appeals throughout the country at about 970,000.

The reports indicate that in recent years the Social Security Administration had been able to cut down on the amount of time it took to process an application and appeals of initial decisions. But, apparently the fiscal battles that have been occurring in Washington, D.C., have affected the SSA's funding and staffing levels, which has contributed to a recent slowdown.

There is no doubt that any Los Angeles resident who sets out to begin the application process for SSD benefits needs to do so with patience in mind. However, what many people fail to understand is that in many cases making the initial application as strong as possible for that first review can make all the difference. If the initial application has everything that the SSA needs to make a determination, the decision could come faster than if the agency needs to request more information. And, of course, a more complete initial application could mean that there will be no denial to appeal anyways, thus cutting down on the amount of time a person has to deal with the approval/denial process.

Source: jrn.com, "Frustration over backlog of Social Security disability appeals," Michael Lopardi, Dec. 9, 2014

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