In what way will “sequestration” affect your social security disability claim?
Social Security has advised the National Organization of Social Security Claimant’s Representatives (NOSSCR) in a “Fact Sheet” that the cut in their budget by the Budget Control Act will only delay your case by about six weeks. But, it appears that budget cut will delay your case much longer than SSA’s estimate.
That is because, the Social Security Administration also has advised that it will lose 5,000 employees as a result of the budget cuts.
Since there is such a backlog of cases already, this will only make the situation worse. As it is, in Baltimore, it takes about 15 months to get a hearing before a Administrative Law Judge, from the time your file reaches the Hearing Office in Baltimore City, http://www.ssa.gov/appeals/DataSets/05_Average_Processing_Time_Report.html
The delay is about the same 15 months when your case is heard in Dover, Delaware and about 12 months, if your case is heard in Washington, D.C., http://www.ssa.gov/appeals/DataSets/01_NetStat_Report.html .
If you are too sick to work and cannot pay your mortgage or you have no health insurance, 12 to 15 months is already an unacceptable amount of time. And, if you add the time necessary to get through the first two stages of a claim, you have to add another year to 18 months. According to the Social Security Administration’s website, only about 28% of claims are approved at the Application level, and only 3% more are won at the second step, called Request for Reconsideration, http://www.ssa.gov/policy/docs/statcomps/di_asr/2011/sect04.pdf
Therefore, the reality is that most people have to get to a hearing in front of a Judge in order to win their case and that this will take 2 to 3 years.
Meanwhile, many of these disabled people will lose their house or apartment, be forced to borrow from their family or have to file bankruptcy, while they wait for the benefits for which they worked.
Any delay caused by the sequestration will be detrimental for people who are already financially, physically and psychologically vulnerable. They are the victims of “sequestration.”