Nobody in the government is ever totally happy with each year's spending budget . In fact, the most recent one was signed by the President despite his vocal disapproval. However, there are quite a few people cheering at least one provision in the mix. There is an increase in the money allotted toward Social Security that's intended to help clear out the backlog of disability claims.
At least two senators were on hand to applaud the new funding for the struggling agency. Senator Wyden of Oregon and Senator Brown of Ohio had called on lawmakers to grant the agency $13 billion, which was twice what the President's own administration had requested.
They were able to secure nearly that amount. That money can go toward overtime pay or even the hiring of new adjudicators in the agency. Both of those things could help move cases through the current application bottleneck, which has left thousands in limbo.
Currently, disability applicants hoping to receive Social Security have to endure an incredibly long wait in order to get a decision. Depending on the state in which an applicant lives, just getting an initial decision can take three to six months, if everything goes right and the claim isn't slowed down by consultative exams and other procedures.
If an applicant is denied, the process starts over again with a reconsideration, forcing the claimant to go through the wait all over again. If that appeal is denied, then a claimant may have to wait a year or longer to secure a hearing in front of an Administrative Law Judge.
In total, applicants who desperately need the money and health care benefits that Social Security provides the disabled may end up waiting years to finally see a payment, even when eventually approved. Despite initiatives inside the agency to reduce the backlog, eliminating it is almost an impossible task without enough funding for overtime or enough employees to tackle the job.
The newly budgeted money can also go to improve the agency's technology, which is something that has fallen sadly behind modern times and no doubt contributes to the overall problems claimants face.
This is great news for those with qualifying conditions applying for Social Security. While the changes won't be felt immediately, there is now significant hope for the future.
Source: KTVZ, "Wyden cheers move to cut Social Security disability backlog," March 23, 2018