February 1, 2018

Nearly 19,000 People Died Waiting For Social Security Disability Benefits In Two Years

More than 1 million former workers stuck in the backlog for benefits that were earned and promised

Belleville, Illinois — February 1, 2018 — The Social Security Administration (SSA) reports that during 2016 and 2017, the number of people who died while waiting to learn if they will receive their Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits rose to 18,701, according to True Help, a division of Allsup, the nation’s premier disability representation company.

These deaths reflect the stark state of affairs of the Social Security Disability Insurance program. At the close of 2017, more than 1 million former workers remained stuck in a 605-day average hearing-decision backlog, waiting to learn whether they would be eligible for benefits. In some cities and states, wait times were closer to 800 days.

“Forcing individuals with disabilities to wait years for the benefits they’ve earned is completely unacceptable,” said Steve Perrigo, vice president of Allsup. “And for the nearly 19,000 people who died waiting for their hearing, this represented the final broken promise.”

According to the SSA, this backlog is unlikely to abate before 2022, despite additional funding, and its hiring additional staff and judges assigned to these cases. Additionally, a recent report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office declared SSA’s Compassionate Allowance program needed improvements to ensure individuals with the most severe disabilities obtain benefits in a timely manner. This program is designed to fast-track claimants with serious conditions, including certain cancers, through the disability benefits application process.

One way individuals can avoid getting mired in the disability backlog is to apply for disability benefits with help from a knowledgeable representative, Perrigo explained. The GAO also recently reported that claimants with a representative were approved at nearly 3 times the rates as those without a representative. Allsup has helped more than 275,000 people receive their SSDI benefits.

With the online tool, empower by Allsup®, individuals can receive an SSDI eligibility assessment, Social Security disability application support and return-to-work guidance. Allsup has a 50 percent higher success rate for its customers at the application level, compared to the national average of 33 percent.

For more information about filing a Social Security disability application, visit TrueHelp.com.

Written by

Rebecca Ray