Social Security disability benefits are an important part of America's safety net, paying an average of $540 a month to people who are too disabled to work. But millions of people have to go through lengthy appeals to get the benefits, and Miami has the longest average wait time for a hearing, at 22 months.

Now a Miami attorney is suing on behalf of 12 applicants who have been waiting for more than two years. The wait became longer as baby boomers get older and the economy tanked. The Social Security agency didn't get funding for more staff to administer the $120 billion disability program.

Roughly 9 million people receive Social Security disability and another 8 million receive Supplemental Security Income. About 1 million cases are pending.