Less than half of the people in the United States who apply for disability benefits ultimately receive them, and they wait nearly 600 days to even receive an initial hearing in front of an Administrative Law Judge.
Proposed changes to the process include giving equal weight to evidence from the claimant’s treating physician and from a medical consultant who provides a brief examination or review of medical records. For conditions that manifest themselves in difficult ways, like lupus or schizophrenia, it’s likely that a one-time consultation by a paid medical consultant will not uncover the true effects a disease has on a claimant.
More initially denied claims will lead to an increased hearings backlog. Currently, more than one million people across the country are waiting for hearings, and the SSD’s budget has been cut by 10% since 2010.