The Government Accountability Office recently released a study suggesting that the extended wait times endured by individuals in Indiana and around the country involved with the appeals process for Social Security disability benefits prove disastrous for some individuals.

The report showed that more than 100,000 individuals died while awaiting news of their Social Security Disability appeal. Another 50,000 people filed bankruptcy while awaiting an answer from the SSA.

The GAO says the report is made more troubling by the fact in present times, worse conditions for both the medical and financial well-being is possible for many individuals and families.

An annual report from the SSA showed that about 10 million people in the country receive disability benefits. Well over 80 percent of these benefits went to disabled workers, and total payments were more than $11 billion in 2018.

The GAO report observed the wait times of people who appealed an SSA decision from 2014 to 2019. The appeals were filed after a denial of disability benefits or the granting of only partial benefit payments. The study found it was normal for people to wait well over a year to receive news of a decision in an appeal.

While the people awaiting news regarding their appeals will still feel that a year’s wait is too long, it is significantly shorter than the wait time experienced in past years. The average wait time rose from 561 days in 2010 to 840 days five years later in 2015.

Individuals close to the matter fear the decrease in wait time experienced more recently may not continue in the current health and economic climate.

Individuals needing to appeal a decision regarding Social Security Disability benefits should know they are likely to spend over a year waiting. This extended wait time can prove doubly devastating if an appeal is unsuccessful after waiting for such a long time. Individuals appealing a Social Security Disability benefits decision may improve the chance of a positive response by working with a disability attorney.