Dec 27, 2016

"Take A Number, Please"

     From an editorial in the Des Moines Register:
It’s the stuff of nightmares: Permanently injured in an auto accident, you lose your ability to work and must apply for disability benefits.
Faced with mounting medical bills, as well as the usual expenses for groceries and rent, you go to your local Social Security Administration office to secure desperately needed federal disability benefits.
You approach the counter, see a sign advising you to “Take a number, please,” and you comply. The receptionist calls out, “Number six?” You look at the slip of paper in your hand and realize you are number 1,136,849.
You ask the receptionist how long you’ll have to wait. She smiles broadly and cheerfully responds, “Thanks for stopping by! Your disability claim is important to us! The average wait time is currently 19 months and 22 days!” ...
Unfortunately, this nightmare scenario is based on a stark reality now faced by many disabled Americans. ...
When it was revealed that 200 veterans may have died in 2015 while waiting for care at an Arizona Veterans’ Administration hospital, Congress wasted no time scheduling hearings and proposing legislative fixes to address that problem. The SSA’s case backlog has grown for years and affects a much broader segment of the population, yet the outrage, if it exists at all, is muted. ...

19 comments:

Anonymous said...

How long should it take? Included in that 19 months are usually 2 prior decisions denying the claim. Timely processed. So how long should it take, including the initial, reconsideration and hearing to have a claim processed?

Anonymous said...

No, the 19 months is from when the Request for Hearing was filed. And, that is an average. In my area, the time for a hearing to be scheduled, not even heard or decided, is over two years.

So, how long should it take? IMHO a hearing should be scheduled in no more than one year from denial and a decision issued in 30 days or less. There was a time, back when I was a Staff Attorney, that those dates were met or bettered.

weed said...

Why do u need to be unemployed for at least a year due to your disability??? This in my opinion should factor into the time period for how long it takes to get an initial determination.

Anonymous said...

@10:45 thank you for the clarification. So the Hearing is running about a third of the time longer than you feel it should. A year seems reasonable considering the number of people applying and the available number of people to hear the claims.

Anonymous said...

Well just so everyone knows, the backlog is larger than ever before and management is focusing on time and attendance issues instead of motivating and engaging employees who actually do the job. This tactic is going to completely blow up in their faces. We are going back to a 1950s authoritarian culture when the reality of a current quality workforce demands the exact opposite. Into the ground we go and we will come out the other side as contracted out.

Anonymous said...

11:35, you don't have to be unemployed for at least a year. The rules are that the disability will last for at least a year or be terminal. A lot of people get paid in a short amount of time, depending on how severe their disability is. Compassionate allowance allows for an expedited payment of benefits.

Anonymous said...

@1:19 is Spot-on! What is so baffling, is why SSA/ODAR management still does not understand this. This type of management has been going on for some time now. These individuals have demonstrated time and again theses types of old fashioned personnel policies died with the Stone Age, and have proven to be an abject failure when it comes to the SSA/ODAR workforce, employee morale and the bottom line, i.e., effectively adjudicating the cases in a timely manner. Even more baffling, is why members of Congress and the Executive Branch not only allow these same individuals to continue to run SSA/ODAR, but tolerate the ridiculous shenanigans they engage, even after they have been fully apprised of this information from whistleblowers and Federal investigators.

Anonymous said...

If this was a perfect system, it should take 1 year or less from the date of filing to adjudicate the claim.

Anonymous said...

How long should it take? A year from the first application to the date of the hearing. 3 months for the first application, 3 months for the second, and 6 months for the hearing. This is not impossible. In the 90's it regularly took 12 - 18 months for cases to go from start to finish. But it takes money that the Republicans have no desire to commit to the problem.

Anonymous said...

I think our internal "as efficient as could ever be possible" timeline is nine months from the PFD to closing out an ODAR decision. I think in reality we would be happy to reach and sustain 12 months or less (for the bulk of our cases) from RFH date (so between 15-18 months from PFD).

Anonymous said...

And what did Obama do or even try to do to improve SSA? The sound of crickets is deafening.

Anonymous said...

@3:57 that is true, but even if he had tried he would have been blocked as he was with everything else.

Anonymous said...

@3:57 and what is the GOP plan, heard one, ever? See we can all point fingers, but it doesn't do a thing to solve it. I am sure it will be better when privatized or taken to something that resembles just having the compassionate allowances as disabling and everything else is just given back to the states to handle.

Anonymous said...

Remember, this is an average. You could be entitled upon your initial application.

Anonymous said...

Every year Obama and Colvin presented a detailed plan and budget request that would allow staffing sufficient to address the backlog. Congress always undercut it substantially, even when given specific warnings about the effect on the backlog. Search there for the proper villains in this sordid tale.

weed said...

Anonymous Anonymous said...
And what did Obama do or even try to do to improve SSA? The sound of crickets is deafening.

3:57 PM, December 27, 2016
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are you freaking kidding me???? how about holding the do nothing congress accountable??? oh wait my bad it's much easier to blame Obama.

Anonymous said...

Remember this little gem, "We will block everything he presents" you got what you deserved trumpette.

Anonymous said...

Even with all the mismanagement, etc. that plagues SSA in some areas, you are a complete fool if you think our processing time and quality issues (throughout the components!) can be meaningfully improved with a ton more money and employees. Full stop. It's just downright silly to talk about efficiency gains/savings in the minutia when our budget is off by billions a year and our staff is tens of thousands fewer than it should be.

We have and spend plenty of federal money; we could give SSA a $13, $14, $15, hell $20 bil admin budget every year with ease, and considering how big we are, how much money we move, and how many people we deal with/process things for, Lord knows we need that much to do all those things well and quickly.

Anonymous said...

*without a ton more...obviously