The Hill asks the question: Is the Social Security Disability Insurance Trust Fund doing better because increasing backlogs slow down the number of claims being approved? The answer is pretty clearly yes to some extent although there are more important factors.
I think one overlooked factor is that the long backlogs and harsh adjudicatory environment deter people from filing claims. Few people stop work due to illness or injury and file a disability claim immediately. There's usually a lag time that can be anywhere from a few months to a few years. A perception that the process is difficult and unpleasant can cause people to hold off longer in filing claims. I wish some investigator would look into this. You'd only need to look at the difference between claim date and alleged onset date and chart the difference over time. You could then correlate that with backlogs and approval rates. My guess is that the result would be interesting.