The Washington Post recently had a story about the rise in the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) claims backlog and how the Social Security Administration (SSA) plans to address issues.
According to the Post, the number of people currently awaiting hearings for SSDI benefits has grown so large it exceeds the population of six different states. The average processing time for SSDI claims nationally sits at 450 days according to SSA reports. This is the largest backlog the agency has faced in its history.
“The backed-up part of the system handles appeals from applicants who’ve been turned down because they were not disabled enough. The appeals go through an administrative law judge [ALJ], who holds a hearing,” the Post noted.
The SSA, through audits, has indicated there are four main reasons for the backlog: requests for hearings have increased, there are fewer attorneys throughout the country handling cases, ALJ processing times have increased and there are fewer judges overall.
Because of this, the SSA has begun to overhaul its system. Over the summer, the SSA replaced two officials responsible for appeals, allowing new leadership to tackle backlog problems. Terrie Gruber, who has been placed in a leadership position with the agency, said her goal is to offer “compassionate and responsive” service.
The Post reported that the SSA has started using electronic data that allows it to determine which appeals could be “screened by attorneys and federal claims examiners, who can make decisions themselves, faster than judges.”
Additionally, Gruber noted that the SSA is attempting to increase the number of ALJs hired and that it will begin to use video technology to allow people in rural areas to having hearings done remotely. She said the agency’s goal is to reduce the backlog to a 270-day wait by 2020.
Our Tulsa Disability Attorneys May Be Able to Help Speed Up Your SSDI Claim
Last year, we wrote about the factors that slow down SSDI claims. It is unfortunate the backlog has reached such giant numbers. In some circumstances, backlogs are created when applicants are not well represented, resulting in errors on paperwork and the failure to disclose information to the SSA.
Our Tulsa disability attorneys can help you avoid issues that may slow down your SSDI claim. You can reach us directly by calling the number located on this page or by filling out the case review form.
Troutman & Troutman, P.C. – Tulsa Social Security disability attorneys