It definitely isn’t news that there is a huge Social Security Disability backlog right now, a backlog that has been around for quite some time and leaves disabled men, women and children waiting months or even years for benefits. Over the years there have been moves to try and speed up the processing of SSA disability claims, and while the backlog of pending cases has dropped below 700,000 for the first time since 2005, there is still work to be done.
In an effort to cut state budget many states – including New York – decided to furlough disability claims processors, even though they are federal employees. This misguided move only added to the already overwhelming backlog, again worsening the situation for many disabled Americans.
Now, the federal government is trying to help – but will it matter to disabled New Yorkers? Several states will benefit from the presence of Extended Service Teams (EST). The purpose of the ESTs is to help with disability determination decisions in states short-staffed because of employee furloughs. Unfortunately, as this time New York is not one of the states that will receive help.
The disability claims backlog has long been an issue for the SSA, and the sour economy has only made things worse. Many New Yorkers are struggling now more than ever to make ends meet, and as more and more people turn to the government for help the backlog is only expected to grow. In fact, the SSA expects to receive a whopping 3.3 million applications for disability benefits this fiscal year.