News is out that staffing cuts at the Social Security Administration (SSA), which occurred during the 2013 fiscal year, will have an impact on those seeking timely hearings. In September 2012, the SSA had 65,113 workers; a year later, that number had been reduced to 62,543. Over the past three years due to cutbacks, the SSA has lost a total of 11,000 employees.
What this translates into is a backup in processing claims on all levels, more pressure on workers, and the chance that decisions regarding your social security disability benefits may not go the right way. The sum effect can be a loss of or delay in getting much needed benefits.
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is to be used when someone has a severe disability, physical or mental or both, that lasts 12 months or longer. To qualify for benefits under the program someone has to be unable to perform their job duties and, as a result, they are precluded from earning a living. Workers, who make contributions through their FICA with holdings, fund the program, which is administered by the SSA.
Although those who apply for benefits are not required to use a lawyer, an attorney with experience in this area can be very helpful. Many times those who are disabled will file for benefits without legal assistance, but will then decide to use an attorney when they have been turned down initially and are preparing for their SSA review and appeal process.
The entire process of applying for and appealing SSA decisions can take more than a year, for some it can take as much as three years before they receive a final decision. With the reduction in the SSA workforce, the time for the processing of claims is expected to expand.
However, there is good news on the horizon. The SSA has reported that they will receive increased funding for FY2014 and expect more funding for FY2015, which means they will be hiring more employees. Although there will certainly be a learning curve involved in training new employees, this is, overall, good news for the future. But presently, the SSA is contending with shortfalls in staffing.
A knowledgeable, experienced, and skilled attorney who has been successful in helping others secure SSDI benefits can be a major factor in expediting your claim and reducing frustration. Your lawyer will know how to best document your disability and present it. They will be able to monitor the progress of your application, provide additional information in a timely mannerthat may be requested by the SSA, and represent your claim in any hearings.
If you believe that you have a claim for a long-term injury and will be seeking help through SSDI, consider working with a lawyer who understands the system and can help make sure that every aspect of your claim meets their criteria. A knowledgeable lawyer will be able to guide you through the entire process and will help reduce any problems related to improperly prepared and incomplete applications.
For information on the SSA and SSDI, contact Fetterman and Associates at 561-845-2510 today. We offer a free evaluation of your claim and situation. Fetterman and Associates will protect your rights and work hard to make sure that you have every opportunity to receive the benefits that you deserve.
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