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How Federal Budget Cuts Could Affect Your Social Security Disability Claim

Across the country, protesters are gathering at city halls and state capitals. The issue? The Republicans in Washington’s House of Representatives have proposed $1.7 billion in cuts to the United States Social Security System. While it is not clear whether or not the Senate and president will put their stamp of approval on the cuts, many worry that the if the cuts actually happen, the Social Security Administration (SSA) will have difficultly handling its duties to Americans.

The most pressing worry for most Americans is that the backlog of Social Security Disability applications will grow to an even less manageable number. Currently, under the present system, some disabled Americans wait many months and even several years before they receive the disability payments that they need and deserve. With $1.7 billion in cuts, many who work in Social Security offices don’t understand how the problem won’t get worse if they have less people working on cases. It is also important to note that with aging Baby Boomers and a recent recession, the number of Social Security disability applications has soared in recent years, making keeping up with the workload even more difficult.

Today, an appeal for Social Security Disability benefits takes an average of 532 days.

The budget cuts may also lead to a month of furloughs for SSA employees – which could roughly translate to a month that those with disability benefits applications don’t get approval and support. In addition, these cuts could delay or terminate SSA plans to reform the entire Social Security Disability application process so that it is more streamlined, efficient, and computer-based instead of paper-based.