With Over One-Million Americans Waiting in the Social Security Disability Appeals Backlog, Congress Starts to Turn the Tide, Keep Promise to Workers
Washington, D.C. – Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member Ron Wyden, D-Ore., today celebrated an increase in the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) budget in the omnibus spending bill to address the substantial Social Security disability appeals backlog. For months, Wyden has been calling on congressional appropriators to provide adequate resources to address this growing crisis, along with Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown.
“Americans pay into Social Security out of every paycheck,” the senators wrote. “When workers need Social Security, they should not have to wait for months – or even years – to receive the benefits they have earned. This boost will begin to set things right, but more needs to be done for stranded American workers who have paid for and earned these lifeline benefits.”
Wyden has been calling on congressional appropriators to provide sufficient resources in the spending bill since the fall to help the Social Security Administration (SSA) reduce the substantial wait times – now roughly 600 days on average – currently facing workers applying for Social Security Disability Insurance. He most recently sent an updated letter earlier this month.
In their letter to Senate appropriators, Wyden and Brown requested an operating budget for the agency of at least $13 billion, double the request of the Trump Administration’s budget. The omnibus spending bill that was recently signed into law sent $12.9 billion to the agency, just shy of Wyden’s request. With this funding, SSA will be able to reduce the disability backlog, improve efficiency by modernizing information technology, and address other workloads where service has deteriorated.