Tag Archives: BudgetCuts

Is the Disability Waitlist a Sign of Mismanagement?

  When a disability claim is denied, the claimant eventually has the option to have their case reviewed by an administrative law judge (ALJ). However, getting such a hearing can take a long time. The most recent estimate for how long it takes to see an ALJ is 633 days, almost two years. What is the cause of this disability waitlist, and is there any way to fix it? Is Mismanagement a Reason the Disability Waitlist Is So Long? Judge Marilyn Zahm, the president of the Association of Administrative Law Judges, recently talked to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution(AJC) about the 1.1 million claimant long backlog. She points to a lack of leadership at the Social Security Administration, short staffs, and inefficient handling of cases as the culprits for the waitlist. As president of the nationwide body that many of our ALJ’s belong to, Zahm has suggested more efficient ways to handle…
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How Would a Reduced SSA Budget Affect Disability Benefits?

The House just passed legislation that could freeze funding for Social Security for another year. In the Senate, there is discussion of cutting another 4 percent off the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) $10.5 billion budget. This trend is nothing new. Since 2010, Congress has cut the SSA’s operating budget by 11 percent. Now people who need disability benefits to survive are paying for these cuts with their time, means and lives. How Does a Reduced SSA Budget Affect People Who Need Disability Benefits? So far in 2017, 10,002 people applying for Social Security disability benefits have died. The SSA suspects many of these people may have grown sicker due to their lack of income. This situation is only amplified by the estimated 633-day waitlist that 1.1 million Americans are sitting on—waiting to get a hearing and a chance to prove they can no longer work. But the Social Security Administration…
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Have Emergency Measures Saved Oklahoma Disability Services?

For months, Oklahoma has been struggling with a budget crisis that has threatened to shake the very foundations of the disability community in our state. Only a few weeks ago, several Oklahomans with disabilities received letters warning them that their in-home services would be terminated on December 1st. However, a last-minute measure may have saved Oklahoma Disability Services, but we are still left wondering how long this new reprieve will last. Were Oklahoma Disability Services Saved by Governor Fallin? Just before the week of Thanksgiving, Governor Mary Fallin vetoed a bill that promised to close the $215 million shortfall in the state’s budget. At first, this would seem like a bad deal for Oklahoma, but the vetoed bill actually contained many cuts to agency budgets as well as raids on state savings accounts. Instead, Fallin only approved an $80 million section of the bill, which provided funding to the Department…
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Has DHS Already Cut the In-Home Support Waivers?

Weeks ago, Oklahomans with disabilities went to their mailboxes and found a letter from the Oklahoma Department of Human Services (OKDHS). The letter told them that on December 1st, their in-home support waivers will end, and they should prepare. This has caused panic throughout the community, and many have responded by speaking out to lawmakers, but is there anything left that they can do to prevent the loss of this essential waiver? Can In-Home Support Waivers Be Saved from DHS Cuts? Once again, the state of Oklahoma finds itself in a budget crisis. Several measures that the legislature cooked up to solve budget problems last year were declared unconstitutional this year. Factor in that and the discovery of mismanaged funds at the Oklahoma Department of Health, and our state is in considerable fiscal trouble. The threat is so great, officials at the OKDHS are looking at cuts to many services…
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Could the OSDH Budget Scandal Affect People with Disabilities?

The Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) is supposed to help make Oklahomans healthier. This government office does so by investing in programs that help treat and prevent illnesses. That’s a big task for a state our size, but the department has always seemed to operate within the limits of its budget. Now, an OSDH budget scandal could shake the foundations of our state, and it could leave the health needs of people with disabilities unattended. Will the OSDH Budget Scandal Hurt People with Disabilities? On October 30th, mandatory furloughs were expected to start for employees at the OSDH. These furloughs were scheduled to last until June 2018 and up to 250 layoffs were also expected. This was due to a $10 million shortfall in the state agency that no one could quite account for, and due to that apparent mismanagement of funds, Terry Cline—the state’s health commissioner—resigned. Cline was…
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