It seems like the only topic I touch upon these days is the extraordinary delays in getting to see a judge who will decide your Social Security disability case. I'd like to move onto other issues, but the delays are the most important topic right now.
Five Reasons Why
Michael Hiltzik of the Los Angeles Times probably does the best work of all reporters in covering Social Security. He has a recent article that explains why Social Security disability claimants have to wait so long to get their cases resolved. Among the issues that Hiltzik cites:
* Dramatic and unjustified cuts to the Social Security Administration budget by Congress.
* Social Security spending too much time hunting for fraud, which scarcely registers as a problem.
* Social Security's inability or unwillingness to hire enough judges and support staff.
* The fact that Social Security has not had an official commissioner, approved by the Senate, since 2013.
* The hostility of the Trump administration towards all government social service agencies.
The Worst Is Yet To Come
At present, there is no reason to think that the delays in getting Social Security disability hearings will get shorter. I believe that they will, in fact, get substantially longer. There could come a time when the entire program essentially grinds to a halt. That sounds like hyperbole, but it is no more than bureaucratic inertia that is keeping the system moving at all.
Think Carefully Before You Apply
If you are thinking of applying for Social Security disability, keep in mind that the process is going to take multiple years to
conclude. If you do not have a way to pay for rent and food during those years, you may simply have to forego even applying for Social Security disability. That's how bad it is has gotten.
Do you see any reason for optimism in these circumstances? Let me know.