SSI backlog: Thousands around Philly waiting more than two years for disability hearing

Across the country, more than one million people are waiting — sometimes for more than two years — for an appeal hearing to determine whether they qualify for these disability benefits.

News Story (Pennsylvania)

Philadelphia Inquirer
January 5, 2018

Tags: Public Benefits

Organizations mentioned/involved: Community Legal Services (CLS) of Philadelphia


One such applicant was a Philadelphia Community Legal Services client who was 45 years old when she sought the agency’s help with her appeal in 2016. The woman had diabetic neuropathy, or nerve damage in the legs and feet, and a chronic ulcer. While awaiting a hearing, she complained that she had no money and that her utilities were being turned off. CLS attorneys requested that government declare the woman in “dire need” in hopes of expediting things.

“A few months thereafter, Social Security reached out to inform us that they received information that the client had died,” Jennifer Burdick, one of the CLS attorneys, said. “We never learned the cause of death.”