New Government Report: Social Security Disability: Management of Disability Claims Workload Will Require comprehensive Planning: Testimony Before Subcommittees on Social Security and Income Security and Family Support, Committee on Ways and Means, U.S. House of Representatives

August 4, 2010 at 11:51 am Leave a comment

Social Security Disability: Management of Disability Claims Workload Will Require comprehensive Planning: Testimony Before Subcommittees on Social Security and Income Security and Family Support, Committee on Ways and Means, U.S. House of Representatives
by Daniel Bertoni
Paperback, 17 pages, 2010, ISBN: 9781437933284, $15.00

Statement of Daniel Bertoni, Dir., Education, Workforce, and Income Security, GAO.

Nearly 2 million people are waiting to find out if they qualify for Social Security disability benefits, reports the Associated Press. It will be a long wait for most, even if they eventually win their cases. The Social Security system is so overwhelmed by applications for disability benefits that many people are waiting more than two years for their first payment. In Ohio, Michigan, Minnesota and other states, the wait can be even longer.

For years, the Social Security Administration (SSA) has been challenged to manage its large disability claims workload. Difficulties in making timely and accurate decisions have contributed to backlogs accumulating at different levels of the claims process.

These backlogs have occurred most often at the hearings level, the level at which initial claims that were denied are appealed and await a hearing before an administrative law judge.

Claimants often experienced long waits for a decision on their claim because of this backlog. In May 2007, SSA released a plan designed to eliminate its hearings-level backlog. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) was subsequently asked by Congress to evaluate this plan and issued a report in September 2009.

This testimony discusses SSA’s backlog reduction plan and the challenges the agency faces in managing its overall claims workload. It draws primarily from GAO reports, and recent reports issued by SSA’s Office of the Inspector General (OIG). Figures.

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