A Freedom of Information Act request, federal reports and interviews showed the Carolinas had about 48,500 pending disability cases, including about 8,700 in the Charlotte area. Waits at Charlotte's Disability and Adjudication and Hearing Office ranked among the worst -- 125 out of 141 offices in the nation.
The reason: Charlotte administrative law judges, on average, decided 375 cases in 2006. The Social Security Administration asks judges to make 500 to 600 decisions a year.
Though officials tried to remove reporters from the hearing office, the Observer spent more than 40 hours monitoring workers. At any given time, half of the six courtrooms were not in use.
Judges blamed the problems on staffing. The Social Security Administration has since announced it is hiring more judges to reduce delays.
Mar 18, 2008
Waiting In The Carolinas
From the Charlotte Observer: