Tax season is approaching. Most people file some type of a tax return. From the quite simple Form 1040EZ to much more complex returns involving Form 1040A, with many ancillary schedules. But many tax returns involve fairly simple information, such as how much you have earned in a year, how much your deductions are, and similar straightforward items.
When you need to file an application for Social Security Disability benefits, you will also have to fill out some forms, but these forms are not simple, and they are not looking for simple numbers. Instead, much of the information requested will be used to make a subjective determination of whether you are "disabled" within the meaning of that term as it is used by the Social Security laws.
This subjective determination is complex and the agency is overworked and understaffed. Because of this, there can be substantial delays in the process. A recent editorial notes that if all of the people waiting on that process were placed in a single room, that room would have to be the size of 59 Madison Square Gardens.
They even note that with an average wait time of 19 months, a number of those individuals waiting in that room may die before their number is called. This is unfortunate and inexcusable, yet it is not a new problem.
Congress needs to act quickly to improve this situation, but that may not happen. This is why many don't try to go it alone and file for benefits on their own. The complexity of the application and the appeal process can be overwhelming, and the knowledge of an experienced attorney brings can help prevent mistakes that can add to the time spent waiting for a decision.