Abromson & Carey, Attorneys at Law
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Federal hiring freeze may lengthen appeal wait time

As part of a flurry of activity in his first days of office, President Trump announced a freeze on the hiring of all new federal employees on the civilian side of the government. Although, some exceptions may apply to individual situations, this freeze will have a broad affect on a variety of government offices, including the Social Security Administration, the organization responsible for making sure residents of Newark, New Jersey, who are disabled can efficiently apply for and, if they qualify, receive Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits.

With the hiring freeze, it seems more likely that the notoriously long wait times for a disabled person to appeal an adverse Social Security decision will not be growing shorter in the near future, a fact that means some people could be left without the benefits they truly need. After all, many, if not most, applications for disability are denied at the outset and thus necessitate an appeal to an Administrative Law Judge.

As it stands, people wait an average of 526 days, well over a year, to get before an Administrative Law Judge to make his or her case for why he or she qualifies for disability. With 1,650 judges hearing 1.1 million cases, and counting, the Administration proposed adding about 250 more judges to the federal payroll within the next year or two. The hiring freeze puts this proposal in to question.

For now, it looks like Newark residents may just need to realize that getting a Social Security application granted can prove to be a long haul. But, the result is a steady monthly disability check and a lump sum payment for "back pay" to the time of the application.

Source: Bloomberg, "Trump's hiring freeze may worsen 526-day disability case backlog," Josh Eidelson, Jan. 27, 2017

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