Is the Social Security Administration Too Slow to Change?

In applying for Social Security disability benefits, applicants often feel overwhelmed at the length of time and the bureaucratic steps it takes to navigate the process and begin receiving benefits. It may seem as if the government is not on their side, but there are other independent agencies that periodically review the Social Security Administration (“SSA”)’s workings in the hopes of improving the process for Americans. The problem these other agencies encounter, however, is getting the SSA to adopt their recommendations.

The federal government’s Government Accountability Office (“GAO”) is one such agency. Its nicknames include “The Congressional Watchdog” and “The Taxpayer’s Best Friend.” The GAO investigated the SSA’s handling of disability denials a few years ago. It found that the SSA provided applicants inconsistent and misleading information about the evidence that the SSA used to deny disability benefits.

The SSA, to put it mildly, was less than receptive. While it acknowledged that the SSA supported the findings, it noted that its “operational and resource constraints” made it difficult to actually implement them. It also responded that its current practices best go along with the computer systems in place in each of the 50 states. A change, according to the SSA, would require more technology funding.

Do you think the SSA is being too short-sighted? Short-term costs versus long-term benefits are always an important consideration for an organization, but it seems that the SSA spends a lot of money on a flawed system. Would it not be worth an increase in spending in the short term if it resulted in substantial savings and improved service for disabled Americans down the line?

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

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