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According to a report at NJ.com, a new survey from Allsup reveals:
The average New Jerseyan will wait as long as 16 months before a hearing to determine whether they are eligible for benefits. Although that’s an improvement from more than 17 months in September 2008, it’s still the 13th longest wait in the country. Reviewing the first two applications in New Jersey takes an average of six months, said Kevin Smith, spokesman for the state Department of Labor and Workforce Development. That makes the full wait for New Jersey residents as long as 22 months before the entire process is completed.
As we’ve written here before, the Social Security disability backlog is a real hardship for disabled workers. Most initial claims are denied, and it’s the norm that people will wait a year, if not two, for a hearing and receipt of benefits. In that time, the bills pile up and their financial situations worsen.
The Social Security Administration is attempting to cut the backlog by hiring more administrative law judges, but the problem is far from fixed.
Nationally, the average wait time for a hearing and decision on SSDI benefits is 442 days, down from 514 days in September 2008.
As bad as things are in New Jersey, they’re worse in other states.
Allsup’s analysis found that the Social Security Disability backlog was longest in Ohio, Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Indiana, Nebraska, Illinois, Missouri, the District of Columbia and Alabama.
An individual with a disability who lives in Delaware will wait on average fewer than 10 months for a hearing, while the same applicant in Ohio would wait almost 20. The 10 states with the lowest wait times are Delaware, Maine, Texas, Louisiana, West Virginia, Utah, Massachusetts, Oklahoma, Connecticut and Hawaii.