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

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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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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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Newbie

I hope you are now getting your checks.  I am having trouble now too, the website still says 2-4 weeks to process most claims.  So a year after your post and they still have not fixed the system.  The pandemic is over, so the process should be a lot smoother now, but no...   I will write Congress to let them know how in efficient the system has become.

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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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Newbie

Does the SSA send you retroactive checks for the months you left your job due to retirement, up to the point the SSA actually finished processing your application?

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Honored Social Butterfly

@TheGaff725 

As long as you stipulated in your application what month you wanted your Social Security Retirement benefits to begin - then it should start from that point - but they only go back so far with a requested date.

 

The SSA (Social Security Administration) ask people to submit their application 4-months in advance of beginning the benefit.

 

Make sure the application was complete including giving them your Direct Deposit info.

 

You should be able to see the progression of any benefit on your Social Security account. 

 

It's Always Something . . . . Roseanna Roseannadanna
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Just FYI, a more recent experience.  My wife applied for Social Security (no Supplemental, Disability or Medicaid, etc) on Jan 2nd 2024.  I followed her application on MySocialSecurity and her application was processed within a week!  I spoke with Social Security the following week and they said we won't receive any other formal notification until about 3 weeks before she is scheduled to start receiving her benefit (in May).

So maybe things aren't as bad as they were last year?

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That sounds promising. Did they advise the amount to expect in May ? Or will you just find out when it goes in account 

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 I Applied December 9th, my application is still pending January 26th with no request for additional information.  I am unmarried with no dependents.  I requested benefits to start in January 2024.  Can’t get through on the phone.  

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SSA began review of my online application for retirement benefits on November 15th. It’s now February 6th and status is still pending. Requested benefits to begin in January 2024.

Worked for same employer for 35 years and just handful prior to that. One and only spouse for 25 years. I don’t understand why the review process is so complex. I left a message with the office handling my online application asking if they need additional information, but no reply.

I wish they would be honest with the time estimate for processing applications . It must realistically be 3-6 months. 

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Honored Social Butterfly

@hpmartens 

Might be time for an appointment and visit to your local Social Security Office.

The review and calculation process isn’t complex - it is more about the number of people who have filled for benefits to begin at the beginning of 2024 - January or February.

Plus all the new trainees that the SSA has to contend with in their new (still learning) job.

 

It's Always Something . . . . Roseanna Roseannadanna
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Honored Social Butterfly

Maybe that is why the SSA says to apply 3 - 4 months before the date of getting the benefit.  

SSA.gov When to start a claim for retirement benefits

 

Check your SS account to follow the progress but you may have a longer wait.'

Yahoo Finance 06/07/2023 - Social Security 2023: How Long Does It Take To Get Approved?

from the link:

The Social Security approval process is relatively speedy, but as it is a government program with a huge number of applicants, you can expect to wait 3-5 months before you get your approval for benefits.

Bear in mind that this timetable only applies if everything runs smoothly.

more at the link ~

 

 

It's Always Something . . . . Roseanna Roseannadanna
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Newbie

Since the SSA website said it takes 2-4 weeks to approve most people's claims, I believed that it would only take a month. It is going on three months now, so I after reading with forum I am happy to see I am not the only one having trouble.  It really should be pretty speedy, since they do have all the information.  All that is truly needed is verification of identity and that should not take more than a couple of weeks.  Thanks for the information.  I will now set my sight on receiving a check in another 2 months if I am lucky.  I feel sorry for those who live paycheck to paycheck.  Write your congressman people.  They need to fix the system.

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Honored Social Butterfly

The most current instructions from SSA says to apply for your Social Security retirement benefits up to 4-months before you want your benefits to start.

 

https://www.ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10377.pdf 

see page 4.

 

Yes, they had problems getting people back to work from doing remote work during the pandemic.  Then many of them left or retired.  Their budget has been increased but they still are having problems with retention.  

 

Could be they need to stop doing all the other stuff the administration ask them to do like issuing all those stimulus checks during the pandemic.  Or administer the Supplemental Security Income Program.  Or collect all those overpayments - but there is a new sheriff in town- a permanent one.

 

SSA- blog.gov - 12/20/2023- Martin J. O’Malley Sworn in as Commissioner of Social Security Administr...

 

maybe that will help - 

 

 

It's Always Something . . . . Roseanna Roseannadanna
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I am in a similar situation. I’m 67. I applied for benefits in mid January. Step one went quickly, perhaps two or three days. I have been stuck in step two of three for the last three months. I’ve called the national 800 number I’ve called my local SSA office, I’ve called Richmond, I have visited the website, which have not yielded any further information.  I do not know why it’s being delayed or how much longer I will need to wait. It seems the more common experience is for these applications to be processed more quickly than mine.  My brother applied in February for his benefit to begin in March and he has received confirmation.  A friend had a similar experience. I think my delay is due to processing overload at Richmond. 

This delay has forced me to cash out some smaller IRAs, which I had not planned to sell so soon.  I will soon need to make additional IRA withdrawals. I will have to pay taxes on the money that I withdraw.  I am sure the IRS will not allow me to fail to submit a tax return on time next year without a penalty.

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Conversationalist

It seems like you may need to go online and look at your letter. It may indicate if there’s missing information. If you don’t have online credentials, you need to create them.

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I have received no letter.  There has been no communication between me and the Richmond office. I have called and left several phone messages. They have not responded to my phone messages, even when they say that they listen to them daily and respond to them within four days. That has not been my experience.

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Honored Social Butterfly

@CarlH118474 

Any letter or communication from the Social Security Administration can be retrieved on your own Social Security account - lots faster than snail mail - In fact, nowadays they ask you to set it up when applying for benefits.

 

SSA.gov - Create Your Own Social Security Account- mySocialSecrity

 

The newest instructions say to apply 4-months before you want Retirement benefits to begin - so you are almost to that line.  

 

Did you apply online or at a local office?

 

You were applying for Retirement, I assume with your age being 67 - Did you give them a date when to begin or since you are older than your FRA, then they probably need to inform you of the small amount of delayed retirement credits you will be getting added and when they will be added.

 

Are you already on Medicare?  If not, they will be signing you up for Medicare Parts A & B also - that might take a bit more time but not much if everything is in their system.

 

If you were already signed up for Medicare Parts A & B - were your premiums paid up to date?

 

Did you give them your direct deposit info?  

 

Retirement benefits should be the easiest for them to process.  

 

Just check your Social Security Account - in case there is more info that they need. 

 

Probably just slow with the new people at the agency and probably not enough people - be glad you aren’t applying for SSDI (Social Security Disability Insurance) - real behind on that one.

 

Good Luck - hope you begin to get it soon.

 

 

 

It's Always Something . . . . Roseanna Roseannadanna
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Conversationalist

If you go online, there is a document that should show your current status. If you have information missing, there will be some indication of that in the document. If you find it and you don't understand what is saying, you might try calling your local office and asking them to explain it to you. 

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Been there, done that. Thanks for your help, but I think the system is broken. It’s not any failure on my part to check status.

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