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CNBC: More than 1 million are waiting for Social Security to process initial disability claims

  November 1, 2023 | By Lorie Konish

Writing for CNBC, Lorie Konish examines the impact of an historic backlog at SSSA and provides a breakdown of a recent hearing by the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Social Security. The hearing featured NOSSCR Interim CEO David Camp, who discussed ways to improve the Social Security disability claims process.

If you’ve applied for Social Security disability benefits and are still waiting for an answer, you’re not alone.

“For the first time in history, more than 1 million people are waiting on the Social Security Administration to process their initial disability claim,” Rep. Drew Ferguson, R-Ga., chair of the House Ways and Means Social Security subcommittee, said at a hearing last week.

“The real-world consequences for these individuals who are unable to work and wait for their disability decision is devastating,” Ferguson said.

‘He died from the conditions that he applied with’

It currently takes 220 days for claims to be decided, on average, which is more than 100 days longer than it did in 2019, Ferguson said. That is also more than 150 days longer than the Social Security Administration’s standard for minimum level of performance, he said.

Experts who testified at the hearing said they have seen the effect of the growing wait times firsthand.

One Social Security disability applicant finally had a hearing scheduled for this month but did not live until the scheduled date, according to David Camp, interim CEO at the National Organization of Social Security Claimants’ Representatives.

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