Waits for Michigan Social Security Disability Benefits Can Be Lengthy
For many who become unable to work due to an illness or injury, Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits cannot begin quickly enough. Due in part to an increasing number of applicants filing SSD claims, wait times for some applicants are still measured in years. The Social Security Administration (SSA) has implemented measures to help address the growing backlog, but for many, slow processing of disability claims will continue to be a problem.
Disability Benefit Processing Times in Michigan Among the Worst
The Social Security Administration reports that, on average, every SSD applicant will face a minimum five month waiting period from the date a disability is established before receiving benefits. The reason for this delay is that SSD benefits are only available for long-term disabilities; the SSA avoids giving payouts to individuals who are only temporarily disabled by uniformly withholding benefits until a disability has persisted continuously for five full months. There are, however, exceptions to this that allow for payment of benefits sooner; your Michigan SSD attorney can explain any exceptions that may concern your application for benefits.
Many applicants, however, have had to wait far longer than five months. Many claims that are eventually approved are denied at the initial application stage, extending the time from application for benefits to receipt of payment. Most applicants wisely choose to appeal an initial denial of SSD benefits; a high proportion of those initially denied eventually will receive benefits.
The hearing stage is where waiting periods tend to grow. Currently, there are over 728,000 applicants on the waiting list for an SSD appeal hearing. This is a five percent increase compared to last year, and it means that the SSA faces new challenges in providing more expedient benefit rulings, especially considering new SSA budget cuts. An experienced Michigan SSD appeals attorney can help you lessen your wait by ensuring that your appeal contains all the information needed to approve your claim.
Some areas have seen painfully lengthy wait times: a number of Michigan residents in recent years did not see benefits kick in until five years after applying. But, the Social Security Administration has been working to combat drawn-out waiting periods, opening new offices in especially stressed areas like Michigan and working overtime to tackle the extensive backlog of cases.
Following the implementation of SSA’s backlog reduction plan, the average wait time for benefits has fallen to 367 days from an all-time high of 514 days in 2008. By 2013, the agency hopes to achieve a 270 day average.
What You Can Do to Speed Your Michigan Disability Benefits Process?
The best way for you to ensure you start receiving benefits as quickly as possible is to retain an experienced SSD attorney. A local attorney will know the ins and outs of area SSD offices, and can present the best arguments to get your claim approved early-on.
If you need SSD benefits today, do not wait on the system-contact an attorney to get things moving.