About 11 million Americans collected a total of $140 billion in Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits in 2013, so it is alarming when there are issues that slow down the application, review and appeals process.
While the media continues to report about Social Security funding, over our next two posts, we are going to delve into a couple of issues that have also contributed to Social Security Administration (SSA) problems, aside from population growth.
Recently, the Baltimore Sun reported that the SSA spent nearly $300 million to develop a computer system to speed the processing of disability claims, but the system is still not working after six years.
A third-party analysis reviewing the system discovered that the agency project was mismanaged and poorly executed. The project now remains in a “lengthy, expensive design phase”. The news has upset many disability advocates, as processing times can take hundreds of days.
Lawmakers are currently investigating the computer program, known as the Disability Case Processing System, and have requested all documents and communications relating to the project for the last six months for review.
“It is concerning that while you and other agency officials routinely testify that the agency needs more funding from Congress, the agency wasted nearly $300 million on an IT boondoggle,” ranking members of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee wrote in a letter to SSA acting commissioner Carolyn W. Colvin.
The SSA has acknowledged that there has been a delay with the project, saying it has been more complex than anticipated. The news is poor timing for Colvin, as she is preparing to be confirmed as the commissioner of the agency this week.
While this news is unfortunate, keep in mind, $300 million is a fraction of what the SSA spends on program benefits, so the issues really have nothing to do with each other. Over the next couple of months, you are going to hear many stories like this trying to paint the SSA in a negative light, as some politicians would ultimately like to restructure the agency.
How Can I Collect SSDI?
The average wait time for a SSDI hearing can take several months, depending upon a person’s location and disability. There is a system in place, the Compassionate Allowances (CAL) program, which allows for the expedited process of disability benefit decisions if you have certain medical conditions.
Do not hesitate to contact our Tulsa Social Security disability lawyers for a free consultation if you need counsel for an application or appeal. We can help guide you through the process, which may be helpful when it comes to waiting periods.
Troutman & Troutman, P.C. – Tulsa Social Security disability lawyers