In Texas, about 50,000 people are currently waiting to hear back about their initial application, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. That number doesn't include the 30,000 applicants who were turned down and are now waiting for their hearings.
Officials with Social Security Administration say that the numbers doubled in one year, an unprecedented growth that has more to do with the bad economy than with an aging population. Many Texans who become disabled or partially disabled find a way to keep working, delaying their application for SSDI benefits. Few laid-off workers with pre-existing disabilities could ever hope to be hired on by another employer. So, they turn to SSDI.
There is good news and bad news. The bad news is that probably two thirds of the 50,000 Texans who have applied for SSDI benefits will see their applications denied and will require a hearing. Thus begins a second round of waiting, which, if the national average is to be believed, will take 446 days.
The good news is that in Texas the average wait for a hearing is 288 days.
Advocates say it's still too long.
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Social Security Administration Commissioner Michael J. Astrue has said that some have waited more than 1000 days—nearly three years.
However, there are alternatives. You can hire a good SSDI lawyer or an advocate who will go to bat for you in exchange for a percentage of the retroactive benefit, capped to a certain ceiling. The Star-Telegram tells the story of Ray Shuga, a disabled truck driver who waited two years for his first SSDI check. He might have been waiting longer had he not engaged the assistance of a professional advocate.
When Shuga finally received $32,000 in his first retroactive check from SSDI $5,300 of it went for his advocate's fee. But it was worth it, Shuga said.