A Maryland man was recovering from a heart procedure when he received word from his attorney that he would be able to receive over $200,000 in disability benefits after a nine year court battle to an end. The man had been seeking disability assistance from Social Security since he began experiencing heart failure, the symptoms of which made it so he was unable to work.

He and his wife tried to prove he was ill enough for years. According to the Social Security Agency, about 2,000 cases were dismissed last year because the applicant died. The Maryland man and his wife continued to petition Social Security in fear that he would become one of this number.

The Social Security Administration is facing application numbers that are higher than ever this year. Additionally, the agency is seeking to decrease its backlog. For those who are initially denied, like this man was, the wait times are incredible. Applicants wait an average of 150 days if they are denied for reconsideration. In 2007, more than 63,000 claimants waited at least 635 days for an initial appeal hearing.

For those who are initially denied, it can be many years before they are approved, typically due to bureaucratic issues. Getting an application in with all of the information done right the first time can help to expedite the process, though this is not the only issue that people in the appeals process may face. However, working with an attorney who is experienced in the Social Security system can help to streamline this complex process and aggressively represent the claimant’s interests to the agency.

Source: The Baltimore Sun, “Families face long waits for Social Security disability benefits,” Yvonne Wenger, Oct. 27, 2012