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Wide variances can occur in SSD processing times

A recent media investigation into how disability claims are handled at a particular Social Security Administration office in Western New York is revealing on a number of counts. We think that some of the details might be interesting to readers in Wisconsin and elsewhere, and thus pass them along.

It might be noted initially that the most salient point about the flow of Social Security Disability claims through the SSA office in Buffalo, New York, is perhaps this: Generally speaking, they take a very long time to process.

To wit: Although the national average for a claimant to get a definitive response from an administrative law judge considering an appeal is 393 days, it is 426 days in Buffalo.

Truly, that it is a long time, and it can seem like an eternity to a person with a disabling injury or illness and bills to pay. It always bears noting that SSD payments are not made pursuant to any entitlement program; rather, eligibility requires that a claimant must have worked for a number of years and contributed tax money from his or her paycheck.

In other words, those with legitimate claims have earned them, and waiting for years to get a government answer can create extreme hardship.

Another point to note about the Buffalo office can be gleaned by a comment from a hearing judge there, which strongly implies that systemic delays owe materially to high numbers of claimants who simply need income and are not disabled.

Even if that is true (and widespread evidence from myriad sources suggests that it is not ), it would not justify the unduly lengthy periods that challenge so many legitimate claimants.

The SSD process undeniably comprises many hoops and hurdles and strikes many claimants as being fraught with complexities. A proven disability attorney with experience interacting with the Social Security Administration can help clients deal with the agency in an optimal manner that is focused on timely claim resolution.

Source: WIVB 4, "Social Security: long wait for disability," Al Vaughters, Feb. 6, 2014

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