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Longer wait for Social Security Disability Benefits possible due to federal hiring freeze

The Social Security Disability Insurance appeals may get even worse given the federal hiring freeze that has been recently executed. As per the month of May 2016, the average waiting period for an appeal processing was 526 days - according to the inspector general of Social Security Administration. 1.1 million people were waiting for their appeals to be processed.

The Social Security Administration had planned to increase the number of judges handling these appeal cases from 1650 to 1900 before the end of 2018 fiscal year. But with the recent executive actions enforced by the current administration, this goal may prove to be impossible. 

The order calls for the Office of Management and Budget to establish a 90-day plan to shrink the workforce. In a statement offered recently by Sean Spicer, who is the press secretary to the White House, he said that the order is aimed at ensuring that taxpayers get a more efficient and effective government.

Kenneth Apfel, who served as the head of the agency under President Bill Clinton, thinks that better service to the public regarding Social Security Disability benefits can be only be offered with expanded allocation of resources in terms of budget and staff. Michael Astrue, who served in the same capacity under President George W. Bush, thinks that this move is going to have devastating effects.

Astrue feels that the personnel office's failure to vet candidates and the lack of focus his successor put on the issue are to blame for the backlog. He too thinks that freezing of hiring will only worsen the already terrible situation. He hopes that an exception for appeal judges will be sought for by the Social Security officials and the personnel department would grant it to them.

While the Social Security Administration - through its spokeswoman - declined to reveal their plans, South Carolina Congressman Mick Mulvaney (who was appointed by President Trump to lead the Budget Office), briefly addressed the issue. In response to Virginia Senator Tim Kaine who raised his concerns that the freeze would make access of services harder for the citizen, Mulvaney acknowledged the concerns, claiming that hiring more people will not create efficiency automatically.

If you have a Social Security Disability benefits appeals case pending, speak to an experienced attorney to understand all of your options. You do not want to find your case going to the back of the line because you failed to follow all procedures or supply all necessary information. 

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The Law Offices Of Martin Taller

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