time to apply for social security

The Best Time to Apply for Social Security Disability

The Ebb and Flow of Applications

The Social Security Administration recently updated their tables on disabled-worker statistics to reflect all current numbers. In that table are some fascinating facts and figures, including why this period between October and December could be the best time to apply for Social Security disability benefits.

Here’s what’s happening:

  • Every year during Q4 (Oct–Dec), there is a 9.8%–12.1% drop in SSD applications. That means a drop of anywhere between 63,000 and 84,000 claimants taking time to apply for Social Security disability during the holiday season.
  • Also during Q4 of every year, there is anywhere from a .06% to a 14.7% increase in SSD application approvals over Q3 of the same year.

What Makes Fall The Best Time To Apply for Social Security Disability?

Fewer applications could translate to shorter wait times, and higher approval rates mean that more of the people applying are getting accepted. That makes October-December an ideal time to apply for Social Security disability, whether it’s your first time applying or fourth time appealing.

Fewer Applications, but Smaller Approval Percentages Y-o-Y

It’s getting harder to receive approval for Social Security disability benefits. Here are a few numbers that demonstrate what’s happening:

  • In 2000, there were 1.33 million SSD applications, and 46.72% of those applications were approved. That’s both the smallest pool and highest approval rate applicants have seen ever since.
  • Applications peaked in 2010 at over 2.9 million and have since come down to just over 2.5 million in 2014.
  • However, 2014 also saw a 32.14% approval rate, which is the lowest rate since the chart began in 2000.
  • 2015 is on track to have fewer applications than 2014, but approval ratings are still declining with only 31.86% of applications approved from July to September.

You can see from the numbers what is happening, but why it is happening is still a matter of speculation.

A (Possible) Reason Why Fewer People Taking Time to Apply for Social Security Disability Get Approved Now

While the SSA remains silent on the matter, there are a few educated guesses regarding the significant drop in approval rates.

A recent Time article explains that as baby boomers approach retirement and as old age begins to take its toll on more bodies, the sheer volume of boomers is beginning to overtax the current, smaller workforce. According to CNN, the SSA has been drawing from its surplus to keep all Social Security benefits funding at 100%, but that fund is expected to run out in 2034. Social Security won’t disappear by that point, but economies will have to be made.

How to Beat the Odds

In 2017, only 23% of people who take the time to apply for Social Security disability benefits will get approved on their first try. That means almost 8 out of 10 people filing claims this time of year won’t get approved by Christmas.

You can improve your chances of getting approved by getting legal representation. There are no out-of-pocket expenses in the vast majority of cases, and you have an expert on your side making sure that all paperwork, documentation, dates, and tasks are in order so you can get the benefits you need, as soon as possible.

Get a free evaluation to see if you qualify for a no-cost consultation with an attorney or advocate. It’s quick and easy, and it could get you the care you need.

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