Social Security Disability: Information on Wait Times, Bankruptcies, and Deaths Among Applicants Who Appealed Benefit Denials [open pdf - 641KB]
From the Document: "The Social Security Administration (SSA) manages two large disability benefit programs, Disability Insurance (DI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). In fiscal year 2019, these programs received more than 2.34 million applications and provided about $185 billion in benefits; as of December 2019, approximately 12.3 million adults with disabilities and their eligible dependents received benefits. SSA uses a five-step process to determine if an applicant qualifies for disability benefits. An applicant who is dissatisfied with the initial determination on their disability benefits application can appeal the decision to multiple escalating levels of review. From fiscal years 2008 through 2019, SSA received approximately 9 million appeals of initial DI or SSI decisions. We have previously reported that applicants who appeal a benefits denial can potentially wait years to receive a final decision, during which time an applicant's health or financial situation could deteriorate."
Government Accountability Office: http://www.gao.gov/