Stresses on North Carolina Social Security Disability System Increased, Reports Wall Street Journal

April 3, 2011, by Michael A. DeMayo

On Monday, the Washington Post ran a powerful story — “Claims for Social Security Benefits on the Rise” — that has many pundits within the North Carolina Social Security disability community talking up a storm. Per the March 28th WSJ article, the combination of high unemployment and the graying of the baby boomer generation has led to a massive escalation in new claims. For instance, in just five years time – from 2004 to 2009 — new claims leaped from just 8.2 million to 10 million.

The result of this escalation has been a bureaucratic slog-fest. Thanks to federal agency budget cuts and a swamp-load of new cases, appeals have been “piling up, and administrative law judges who hear these cases [have been] overwhelmed.” Although the Social Security Administration hired a raft of judges and support people to boost turnaround times for appeals – and appeals times have been shaved from a 532 day average back in 2008 to just 390 days today, the backlog of pending hearings is daunting. Currently, over 705,000 hearings are pending.

Although the Social Security Agency “pays out more than $800 billion in benefits every years to retirees, their spouses, dependants and survivors, low income disabled adults and children, and some low income World War II veterans,” according to the WashPo report, it’s going to be a lot more difficult for claimants who have pending appeals to get heard in a timely fashion.

Due to budget cuts and other problems that we just discussed, the Social Security Agency has abandoned earlier plans to open new offices in a variety of states – 8 total (although no North Carolina Social Security disability offices had been in the works).

Stories like these can make potential SSD benefit claimants and their families nervous and fearful.

Fortunately, the reality is that you can compel the system to work better for you – or at least prevent massive injustice – provided that you have good planning and resources on your side. For instance, a law firm that specializes in North Carolina Social Security disability benefits can help you outline a strategic plan to nip any logistical or legal problems in the bud, avoid common mistakes when you file, and answer FAQs you might have about the process.

Having a resourceful legal team on your side can also make you feel less anxious and uncomfortable about your benefits situation. Often, it’s not the lack of benefits that bothers people – it’s the lack of clarity about the situation. Will you or won’t you get the benefits that you think you are entitled to? As long as you live in a realm of “I don’t know,” the situation is a lot more difficult.

More Web Resources:

WashPo article: “Claims for Social Security Benefits on the Rise”

Social Security Agency