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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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Periodic Contributor

I just got off the phone with this number 855-897-4927. I was directed to this number before and the person did nothing more than give me the extension of a case manage who after 7 ish messages never called me back. I must have called 5 different departments. I was given this phone number again and called and got the most wonderful lady who has a case manager calling me today (fingers crossed). Anyway, it appears, although My Social Security website has me down as applying for SS and I'm locked on everything (i.e. I couldn't even re-apply) what they have is only applying for disability. Hopefully, this will be resolved today. She said they are getting quite a few calls like that - that the application didn't go through on their end. Maybe it's worth a try calling them? Just don't let them give you an extension - ask to set up an appointment. Good Luck!

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Newbie

I'm SO grateful for your post. I wasn't having any luck getting in touch with anybody until I called the number you mentioned - 855-897-4927. It's a N. Carolina number. The first time I spoke to a lady who just hung up on me when she couldn't understand me. But the 2nd time I called and the man told me details about my case, and told me to call my local office in Los Angeles. They were able to help and get my 70-day old SS retirement application approved, finally. Thanks for your help!

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Periodic Contributor

I applied in August and it is only done with stage 1 of 3. I'm waiting for a call back - they can't find me (automated). I know disability will take longer but I don't know what's going on with retirement 😞 BTW disability is steadily chugging along

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Newbie

Try calling 855-897-4927....after waiting 70 days they finally directed me to call my local SS office, which worked. Or just find out where your nearest Social Security Admin office is, once you call them or go in person, they should be able to help you right away. All the other numbers were useless! If they give you a number to the person working on your case, usually near your state capitol, it is useless. They don't answer their phone, just goes to voicemail and nobody ever calls back!

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Social Butterfly

@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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Newbie

I do appreciate the "reality."  But I am a retired Federal employee who had to do more with less for years but was still ACCOUNTABLE for metrics.  I was a regulator.  And telling a licensee I would get back to them and didn't, or saying something would take a month but really was 4 months?  A very few of those and I would be disciplined and downgraded.  We have been trying to get the status of my wife's application for weeks.  Her "pay date" should be February 17th (it is currently the 7th and no word).  I have been told on phone it would be a 30-minute wait, and it went 3 hours without a contact.  I have been promised call backs and nobody has called.  So, you may have stated reality, but that reality needs an ADJUSTMENT.

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Contributor

Nine (9) days from submit online app to first payment deposit.  Is that a record for SSA?  Yay me!

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Honored Social Butterfly

Good for you - 

Maybe all their new hires have finally gotten through training - SSA is still way down on the number of people they had before the pandemic. They also have a very high rate of people who leave.

 

 

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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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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Super Contributor

@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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Super Contributor

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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Contributor

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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Contributor

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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