On an average, disabled Americans are waiting 575 days to present their Social Security Disability claims at a hearing before a judge. A record one million SSDI and SSI cases are currently pending. This is an alarming crisis.
While disabled individuals wait for a hearing, utility bills go unpaid, families struggle to put food on the table and many face the risk loosing their homes.
This problem is not happening by mere chance. This situation has been caused by dramatic cuts in the Social Security Administration's operating budget. Since 2010, the SSA's budget has been cut by 10%. In the meantime, the agency's workload has increased due to the rise in the demand for services caused by the ageing of the baby boomer generation. Services have been cut across the board. Since 2010, the SSA has closed approximately 60 field offices and 500 mobile offices.
Unfortunately, the Republican controlled Congress is considering even deeper budget cuts. A proposed bill envisions cutting the agency's budget by over $250 million in 2017. These additional cuts will aggravate the current crisis even more.
Under the proposed house bill, the Social Security Administration would need to close all its offices for two weeks as a result of employee furloughs. And a looming hiring freeze can lead to even longer wait times and delays in all parts of the Social Security system, including retirement, survivors’, and disability programs. A Senate version containing a similar proposal for cuts provides slightly more funding, but still fails to address many critical agency resource needs.
Social Security advocates across the country are asking everyone affected to contact their representatives in Congress. President Obama has requested funding for 2017 that would allow Social Security to begin reducing the disability claims backlog and to reduce other agency service delays.
Call your Members of Congress TODAY. You can find their contact information at http://www.house.gov/ and http://www.senate.gov/index.htm (upper right corner of each page).