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Regular Contributor

Huge delays in Social Security processing new retirement applications, does anyone know why

The website for Social Security used to say that it would take up to 30 days to process new applications for retirement benefits.  In a week it will have been three months.  Now the website says 2-4 weeks, but that has got to still be wrong.

I gather from other forums, that a delay of 2-3 months is now normal.

What I would like to know is, why?

Every time I try to search for information, all of the results are about disability, not retirement.  And not a single results explains why it is taking so long when they already have my entire work history of 47 years, etc.  They have all the information they need.

What exactly is it that they do to process applications which turns 2-4 weeks into 2-3 months.

Does anyone know why?

I cannot work a job right now, my arthritis is too painful.  

I can't wait more months to begin getting retirement checks, I will be homeless.

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Gold Conversationalist

@CatherineP879665 

I feel your pain, I have been there.

One point that I have learned over the past year is that the SSA doesn't process your application immediately upon receipt if the date that you want it to begin is more than a month or so in the future. So if someone submits an application in, say, February for benefits to begin in May (with the first payment in June), then that application is just going to sit in the system and won't be fully processed until May.

 

That's exactly what happened to me and I was given the explanation above by 1 or 2 SSA representatives when I called to inquire. I have also subsequently read that explanation in a few places, including the Reddit Social Security forum, and possibly even here in the AARP forum.

The diagram that shows the progress in the "My Social Security" does give a false promise of imminent action. Take that with a large grain of salt, and maybe a libation.

Good luck!

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Regular Contributor

Thanks but no, I applied in January and requested to have my benefits begin in January, as I was in dire need of immediate assistance.

 

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Honored Social Butterfly

@CatherineP879665 

WHY ????

I participate on the Reddit Social Security Board where a lot of people who work at SSA spend some time answering some questions.

Now many of the post are on SSI ( which is the welfare disability benefit for those blind, elderly or disabled who don’t qualify for SS Disability (SSDI). SSI come out of our government’s General Fund but it is managed by SSA.  

 

So you see these folks at SSA have a double whammy job in processing both of these entitlements.

 

Then they also process ALL of the Medicare sign ups, bill beneficiaries for part B premiums if they aren’t getting a SS benefit yet.

 

We still have 10,000 baby boomers retiring everyday and most of them don’t try to do it online and they have lots of questions on their decision to sign up - 

 

During the Public Health Emergency (Covid-19 PHE) they also processed ALL of those Covid checks to everybody eligible.  Then others were working from home and a lot of them like it - so when the offices reopened many Never came back - they just quit or retired.

 

So they are very short handed right now - they got more funds to hire people but like other places the pick’ ns of new hires is limited.  And then they have to be trained.

 

Not an excuse for them - just reality.  

Have you made yourself a social security account to folllow the progress of you application?  

 

 

It's Always Something . . . . Roseanna Roseannadanna
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Regular Contributor

Yes, I made a on-line account when they stopped mailing yearly statements.  And I applied on-line.  If they are so behind, then they should not have posted on-line that my application was being processed by an individual in Richmond three months ago.

I cannot work right now and in two weeks I could be homeless if this doesn't come through.

I didn't apply for disability because I had to do that for a short period of time 30 years ago and that took so long that I wound up having to sell everything I owned including my furniture trying not to become homeless while I waited to get approved.

Going to write my congressman.  Just hoped someone here could give a reason why a simple straightforward basic retirement application would take three months!

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Honored Social Butterfly

@CatherineP879665 

Can’t tell you anymore than what your account shows - I assume everything was OK in the application - like you are 62 years of age or older.  Applying for your own benefits off your own work record.

They will check to see if you have any Spousal Benefits (or divorced spousal)  that could be more than your own work records.

 

They would let you know if there are any Survivors benefits, I think - or Divorced Survival benefits 

 

These are just things that they would notify you about -

You probably told them when you wanted to start and gave them your bank direct deposit route and account.  

 

Maybe you should try calling if there isn’t an update soon.  You should get a benefit letter confirming amount & beginning date.

 

Here is the SSA calendar of benefits so you can determine when it will show up as a DD into your acct.

2023 SS Schedule of Benefit Payments

 

 

Hope you get it soon.  

It's Always Something . . . . Roseanna Roseannadanna
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Regular Contributor

It was a simple basic application for retirement benefits after paying in for 47 years.  No other individuals like spouses, children, or dependents involved.  They already had all of the information necessary.  Nothing was missing.  So it boggles the mind that it would take three months.

Just feel they ought to update the website to reflect current realities.  After all, they managed to change "30 days" to "2-4 weeks" during this time period. 

Some people, like me, really need to know when they can expect to receive funds.  Some people live paycheck to paycheck or week to week in areas where the cost of living is so expensive one cannot even afford to relocate!

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@CatherineP879665 

Go online to ssa.gov and review your benefit verification letter. If SSA needs additional info, I think it will be in that letter. You can always call SSA, and if you can't get through at the federal level, try your state SSA office. I had a delay and my state office told me exactly what document I needed to submit. I hand-delivered that document to my local office and they sent it up to the federal SSA. If you are missing info, that may reset the clock for getting benefits. Even if you have to provide additional info, I suspect you will eventually get everything you are entitled to based on the start date you entered when you applied.

 

If you are missing info, SSA probably sent you an email about it. If you didn't see one, check your junk/trash folder to see if your email client/provider routed it there.

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Regular Contributor

There was no missing information.  There were no other family members involved, no spouse, no children, etc.  It was straight and simple basic applicatio for retirement.  No muss, no fuss.  Ought to have been simple.  They already had all of the information they needed and my application was uncomplicated.

My question was does anyone know what exactly the process is.  Was hoping to hear from someone who actually processed applications.

No missing emails, no missed phone calls, no missing mail.

They need to change the website to reflect current wait times so people who are in dire need can face reality.  Like me.

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Honored Social Butterfly

@CatherineP879665 

This link is to a discussion board that has people who actually work at SSA - they might be able to tell you more or they may just say call.  But they do know process —

You will have to register to post but you can view the site before joining to see the info that you can get there.

Reddit.com - Social Security

 

And here is s FAQ from SSA on checking pending applications but I think most of those have been covered by you.

 

SSA,gov  How do I check the status of a pending application for benefits?

 

Good Luck

 

 

It's Always Something . . . . Roseanna Roseannadanna
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