SSA is facing a considerable increase in initial and reconsideration disability claims, resulting in a significant backlog. The Agency received about 2.6 million initial claims and about 648,000 reconsideration claims in Fiscal Year (FY) 2016. As of June 2017, SSA had received over 1.8 million initial claims and almost 437,000 requests for reconsideration. Further, as of June 2017, there were over 567,000 initial claims pending.
Also, SSA has experienced a growing hearings backlog and increasing case processing times in recent years, causing the public to wait longer for decisions on appeals of earlier disability decisions. SSA’s pending hearings backlog grew from about 705,000 cases at the end of FY2010 to approximately 1.1 million cases at the end of June 2017. Average processing time on hearings has also increased from 426 days at the end of FY2010 to 596 days at the end of June 2017.