Social Security Disability Application Backlog Gets Even Bigger

A year ago, the backlog for disability benefits at the Social Security Administration was approaching one million applications long. The number of people in this queue was so large that it exceeded the population of six different states. Since then, the line has only gotten longer, according to a new report by the agency’s watchdog. The average time to process the claims  — which have now reached the 1 million mark — is up to 450 days, Inspector General Patrick O’Carroll, Jr. wrote in late September, calling the number of pending cases the largest in Social Security’s history. The backlog has come under scrutiny not just from the inspector general and the Government Accountability Office, but from Congress, which has held numerous hearings on the issue. In July, Social Security replaced the two officials in charge of the appeals office, shifting them to other jobs at the agency in favor of new leadership to tackle the backlog. The new head of the office says she is “putting the finishing touches” on a plan to reduce the number of pending cases and speed the system up. One of the biggest changes will include better triage of cases, so many don’t ever get to a lengthy hearing before a judge. New, electronically- generated data has helped the agency determine which appeals could be screened by attorneys and federal claims examiners, who can make decisions themselves, faster than judges, director Terrie Gruber said. The number of attorneys is being increased.

Source/more: Washington Post

 

David Wingate is an elder law attorney at the Elder Law Office of David Wingate, LLC. The elder law office services clients with powers of attorneys, living wills, Wills, Trusts, Medicaid and asset protection. The Elder Law office has locations in Frederick and Montgomery Counties, Maryland.

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