The Springfield, Ohio News-Sun is running a piece on Social Security's horrendous hearing backlog. It's always good to see these pieces but they seldom contain any information that's not already well known to regular readers of this blog. Here's a few nuggets of news from this piece:
Judge Marilyn Zahm, the [Administrative Law Judge] association’s president, said each case is a very labor intensive process ...
Zahm said the size of the case files has exploded in recent years, particularly as new regulations have been added. As a result, up to 30 percent of the files now contain more than 1,000 pages of medical evidence, she said.
“Do you have any idea how long it takes to review 1,000 pages of medical evidence?” said Zahm. “We are the only adjudicatory body that I’m aware of that allows such loose requirements for representatives.”
A work analysis study commissioned by the Association of Administrative Law Judges in 2014 found it would take a judge more than seven hours to process and render a legally sufficient decision on a case containing 652 pages, the national average for that year.
But with an expected quota of at least 500 dispositions a year, a judge would have available only 2.5 hours per case, the study found. ...I doubt that the rapid increase in the size of Social Security disability claim files registers with Social Security management. They never look at these files. It's all very abstract to them. The increasing file size matters. It takes more Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) time and it takes more time for those of us who represent Social Security disability claimants. ALJ productivity standards need to be adjusted. The fees paid to those who represent Social Security disability claimants need to be adjusted.