Changes Ahead at Social Security Administration

According to the Wall Street Journal, the Social Security Administration (SSA) will be implementing a number of changes to determine if someone qualifies for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits over the upcoming years.

The Journal listed six major changes that are underway now when it comes to SSDI qualification:

  • Listings- Currently, the SSA uses a dictionary dating back to 1991 when it comes to job listings, which it uses to determine if an applicant can find employment locally. The dictionary contains dated terminology like “show girl” and “blacksmith” when it comes to job titles. The Journal reported that the SSA is rewriting the terms, and should have a completed list by 2016.
  • The Grids, a.k.a. “the grid rules”- Administrative law judges (ALJs) use something referred to as the “grids” or the “grid rules” to determine if someone qualifies for benefits. This inquiry takes into account a person’s education, age and health conditions to determine if someone would be able to find a job. However, it has not been updated in years, and the Journal reports that changes are looming because people are working later in life.
  • Disclosure- According to the Journal, the SSA will soon propose a new rule when it comes to disclosing medical records for applicants. It will prevent law firms and applicants from withholding important records relating to an application.
  • Caseload- Currently, the cap on the number of cases an ALJ can oversee per year is about 800. The Journal reported that this number could change, as ALJs have complained that there’s no way they could properly scrutinize medical files to determine the outcome of a case. The cap has been lowered twice in the past two years and may be lowered again.
  • Doctors and Lawyers- According to the Journal, the SSA and its inspector general have launched a project to determine if third party groups, notably doctors and lawyers, are facilitating fraud. The task force just began and officials said that it has not identified potential targets.
  • Job Description- The SSA will be making changes to the job description of ALJs, which we will blog about on Wednesday. The changes include “layers of supervision”.

The Social Security Administration (SSA) uses two different tests to determine benefit eligibility including the “Duration of Work Test” and the “Recent Work Test”, which take into account how long you have worked as well as how recently in order to determine whether you qualify for disability benefits.

Working with an experienced attorney will help you if you think you qualify for SSDI benefits. Contact our Tulsa Social Security disability attorney today for help. We offer free consultations, and you can reach us by phone at (918) 587-0050.

Troutman & Troutman, P.C. – Tulsa Social Security disability lawyers


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