The amount of time that disability claimants are waiting for hearings has increased dramatically. As a result, the backlog is about a million cases, for which the Social Security Administration (“SSA“) blames budgetary problems.
Ironically, many applications pending at the initial level have been decided much quicker than usual. Historically, it took the State agency 6 to 7 months to render a decision. However, recent decisions have taken significantly less time. The last couple of months I have had applications denied in only 2 or 3 months; some even without nonmedical development or requests for consultative examinations. On the other hand, today I had two more applications approved, one 3 months, and the other 4 months, after being filed.
Is this all simply an odd coincidence? Faster decisions by the State agency results in even more claims waiting for hearings. A cynic might say that the backlog is purposely being increased in order to make a case for increasing the SSA budget.