March 30, 2009

With A Growing Backlog of Social Security Disability Cases, Senators Gillibrand and Schumer Call for Additional Funding

Requests $11.6 Billion to Support Social Security Administration

Washington, D.C. - New York Senators Kirsten Gillibrand and Charles Schumer joined a bipartisan group of their Senate colleagues last week calling to protect social security funding in the 2010 budget.  Senators Gillibrand and Schumer urged the Senate Budget Committee to include the full $11.6 billion investment in the Social Security Administration (SSA) requested in the President's budget to help combat delays in getting benefits through Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI).

"We cannot afford to let those who rely on social security disability benefits down," Senator Gillibrand said.  "We need to make sure that those suffering from sickness and injury who cannot work receive the benefits they deserve. We must give Social Security the resources it needs to get this crucial system back on track."

"Hundreds of thousands of people in New York and across the country depend on Social Security and disability benefits to survive, and in these tough economic times we cannot make them wait a minute longer than necessary," said Senator Schumer. "I will do everything I can to ensure that the Social Security Administration receives the funding it needs to reduce the backlog and get benefits to those who need them in a timely manner."

Budget cuts during the past eight years put a strain on SSA, making it difficult to process claims and get benefits to those who rely on them.  The backlog of Americans waiting for social security benefits has reached historic heights, and currently the SSA faces remarkable challenges processing claims and delivering SSDI benefits to those in desperate need. As of January 2009, nearly 767,000 cases were awaiting a hearing on an appealed claim, including 80,000 veterans, and forcing applicants to wait over a year on average for a hearing on their claim. 

Making this investment now will help SSA get back on track and address delays in disability benefits.