Updating a blog post we brought you last week, the Des Moines Register recently had a scathing editorial calling the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) backlog a “national disgrace”.
The newspaper recently published a piece in which they reviewed documents showing that a local administrative law judge (ALJ) had such a long backlog of cases that the state had to step in by reassigning many cases to a regional office in Kansas.
The Register reported that a record 1 million people are currently waiting for SSDI decisions nationwide, although there are only about 1,500 administrative law judges around the country. This has caused a wait time of around 14 months for hearings, nationally.
In the follow-up editorial, the newspaper said the Social Security Administration (SSA) has “been spectacularly unsuccessful in its efforts to reduce the backlog of claims from people seeking disability benefits.”
Because of a report a few years ago in the Wall Street Journal, the SSA began to monitor judges who may have been “churning out” too many SSDI decisions, labeling them “outliers”. This may have had a negative impact on processing times, as the only way ALJs could avoid scrutiny was by taking on fewer cases.
“The average time for processing a case had been declining steadily before 2011 when the Journal published its report,” the Register editorial says. “Since then, however, the average case-processing time has grown from 360 days to 454 days, and more and more claims are being denied.”
The newspaper argues that instead of scrutinizing ALJs, Congress should give the SSA the resources it needs to oversee the glut of cases it has. It mentions how the Department of Veterans Affairs was able to decrease its own backlog for disability claims by imposing mandatory overtime for processors and other workers who play a role in reviewing documents.
“In contrast, the SSA doesn’t even have a long-term strategy for reducing its backlog,” the Register said. “That’s unfair to the millions of Americans who need disability payments to keep a roof over their head. They deserve to have their cases heard in a timely fashion.”
Our Tulsa SSDI Attorneys Can Help You Avoid the Issues That Slow Down Claims
As we stated last week, a variety of factors influence SSDI waiting periods. We wrote about this subject last December. Many issues that slow down SSDI claims are avoidable, as they include paperwork errors and the failure to disclose certain materials.
By working with our Tulsa disability lawyers, you may be able to avoid these issues, which could potentially lead to a shorter waiting period for benefits. For more information about the SSDI process, you can visit our FAQ page.
Troutman & Troutman, P.C. – Tulsa Social Security disability lawyers