The vast majority of persons who have made the decision to seek Social Security Disability have had such physical and often mental disability that there is truly no work which he or she can perform. Yet, cases are routinely denied, requiring appeal, and eventually a hearing. The average wait time is two years.
There are many reasons for the delay. A big factor is the loss of staff in many Social Security offices and the numbers of pending claims – over one million. Yet there are only about 1500 Social Security judges. There is no doubt that the judges try very hard, but there are many hurdles that they face as well.
As a person pursuing Social Security Disability there are things you can do to help your case and speed up the process. Most important is to get your complete medical records and provide these to the agency. The more specific about your limitations the better. Give them all of the information you can and ask for an early determination. Another way is to request that your case be pulled by the judge for a decision prior to a hearing. This would be in a scenario in which the facts an evidence are so clear that a hearing would not change the outcome and where it is clearly in your favor. The point is that you are dealing with an agency that is overwhelmed, with many persons in vital need of income and medical care. Make their job easy by providing clear, well organized evidence by qualified doctors and other providers early on, and regularly update your information.
Here is an interesting recent article on this topic: https://www.cbsnews.com/news/social-security-disability-backlog-tops-1-million-thousands-die-on-waitlist/