Delays at SSA field offices grow worse

If you need to apply for Social Security Disability benefits, you will likely have varying degrees of frustration when dealing with the Social Security Administration. The agency is responsible for administering all aspects of the Social Security Act, including the Retirement program, the Disability program and the Supplemental Security Income program.

As the population of the nation ages, more people are eligible to begin receiving their retirement benefits as well as the increased number who develop impairments as they age, which force them out of their occupation and into the disability program. Unfortunately, this growth in the number of individuals who need the agency's assistance with questions and issues relating to their benefits has grown against the backdrop of a Congress that has imposed budget cuts and hiring freezes on the agency.

This means it is all the more important to do everything in your power to put together a complete application for your SSD benefits. You will need to be prepared to deal with various delays within the process, so it is essential that you do not make mistakes with the application or fail to provide the correct information and documentation.

A recent report from the agency's Office of Inspector General finds that delays in field offices around the nation have grown and it is difficult to see how there will be any improvement for years to come. SSA has cut hours, reduced staff and shuffled work around in an attempt to make the cuts less noticeable, but they have been less than successful.

The agency has experienced a 12 percent growth in the number of beneficiaries it services, but it has fewer employees to help those individuals. Given the new administration's promise to freeze or cut more federal workers, the probability of long waits on the phone, in the field offices and for hearings is only likely to increase.

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