Jan 28, 2017

Trump Hiring Freeze Will Lengthen Already Terrible Hearing Backlogs

     From Bloomberg:
President Donald Trump’s federal hiring freeze may exacerbate a backlog of appeals for Social Security Disability Insurance that has grown so big that an average case takes more than a year to be heard [actually well over a year]. 
“These are people who are desperate,” Judge Marilyn Zahm, president of the Association of Administrative Law Judges union, said. “There may be a hiring freeze on federal employment, but there’s no freeze on people getting older, people getting sicker, people having injuries and accidents, and people needing disability insurance.” ... 
“To better serve the American public, the Social Security Administration needs more budget and staff resources, not less,” said Kenneth Apfel, who led the agency under President Bill Clinton and now teaches at University of Maryland’s public policy school. “I think it’s going to be pretty devastating,” said Michael Astrue, a George W. Bush appointee who served in the same role. ...

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

It's starting to look like they are not going to consider this a Public Health Issue worthy of an exemption, when we all know it is.

Nevertheless, we must never forget those in top management whose inept ability to run the disability hearing components of the Agency are directly responsible for the massive backlog because many are still there continuing to push their failed, unsuccessful agenda. Their complete and total obsession over numbers, quotas, or benchmarks, and punitive enforcement against any ALJ or employee who does not meet such unrealistic standards has demoralized the workforce and created a sweat shop like work environment. The very notion management should be issuing Reprimands, denying telework, and constantly harassing ALJ's and employees who do not meet such unrealistic production standards, but whose work is otherwise exemplary, and displays the adjudicator understands the meaning of due process, reveals these individuals must go. They are apparently not going to leave on their own because they will gravitate to their bloated, unearned salaries as long as they possibly can. A massive change, or draining of the swamp among those who directly oversee and manage the disability components of the Agency, is needed ASAP.

Anonymous said...

thats right blah blah blah fire and lock up all the adults running the show cause of course YOU can do it better. then once you break the place and run it into the ground, you'll be the first to scream "hey, where'd all the adults go??". silly rabbit...

Anonymous said...

I have had the very strong feeling that my local ODAR office has been scared shitless since the great social security witch hunt started about five years ago to write an on the record decicion under any set of circumstances. Everybody is a potential deadbeat fraudster even if their limbs are missing or they are in a coma.

Anonymous said...

Is that the march of the Kontracters I hear? Thanks Trumpites, you will never get benefits once the Carlyle Group takes over. All hail Mr. Ross!

Anonymous said...

Hey, has anyone noticed that Disability Judges dot come site no longer has statistics? Also that the SSA site no longer has disposition data? Is this Truamp? If so, should we be worried, scared, dazed?

Anonymous said...

3:23 - when I was hired 7 years ago, OTRs were de rigueur. Since the congressional hearings a few years ago where 4 completely inept ALJs (just so happens with very high pay rates) were subjected to the Eye of Sauron,,, well not very more of those. I doubt the last few years of ALJ classes have even heard of OTRs or Bench Decisions.

Anonymous said...

@11:05pm. Stats are still up on ssa site https://www.ssa.gov/appeals/DataSets/03_ALJ_Disposition_Data.html

Anonymous said...

@3:23 That's my experience as well. Used to be most of the OTRs I submitted were at least fully considered and at least half were approved without need for a hearing because I only submit well documented ones. Now they are hardly ever approved before a hearing even if it is a clear cut listing or grids case. It's a drop in the bucket compared to the problem of under funding agency operations but it's still real people we are talking about suffering by having to wait much longer for claims which should have been approved much earlier.

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Anonymous said...

murder and suiside is the only way to get the feds to make ssi better....a 22long rifel.....and a bottel of wiskey....will help a lot of poeple....the 22 long can kill at 600 feet....so if you are 300 feet that secerty gourd is daid....and it will be hard for him to shoot back.....

Anonymous said...

@2:39

Yes, I could do a much better job running the Agency, as well as several others I know. Further, we would run the Agency as true adults with a positive, engaged workforce. There is no way we could run the Agency disability components any further into the ground than what you have already done. I have several initiatives I would implement, which would immediately and substantially reduce the backlog. The bottom line is you and yours who have been running the disability components must go ASAP. You have not conducted yourselves like adults in any sense of the term. You insist on micromanaging everyone's work, are obsessed with unreasonable quotas, and spend ridiculous amounts of time, effort and taxpayer money enforcing this nonsense, along with other minutiae such as WebTA, in a punitive manner. The unprecedented, massive backlog of disability cases, which continues to grow, is a testament that your management of the Agency has been an abject failure. Your refusal at this point to recognize this and flee your leadership positions is proof your policies are not working, have never worked, and are going no where. Let's face it - The only reason you are still there is because you are addicted to your bloated salaries. Here's some advice to which I encourage you to adhere to immediately, and challenge you to do: Insist everyone in the entire management chain of command from Deputy Commissioners on down write ALJ decisions. I challenge you to do this because I know few, if any, of these individuals could actually write a legally sufficient ALJ decision, and the prospect that you would actually do something which makes sense is antithetical to your management of the Agency thus far.

You have also lost credibility in your ability to run the Agency insofar as you engage in organizational/institutional discrimination. In other words, you manage with a double edge sword, e.g., the standards you set and implement for top officials and management is completely inconsistent with those you set and enforce for everyone else. You cannot refuse to hold top officials and management accountable for known misconduct and wrongdoing, and the direct opposite with everyone else. As I said, you lost all credibility long ago. As for knowing who the adults really are, it does not take a rocket scientist to figure out it is not you.

Anonymous said...

ODAR reportedly announced this week that it has a list of several hundred decision writers & senior attorneys whom they are closely scrutinizing for low production. Because they can't touch aljs, upper management is blaming low producing decision writers and senior attorneys for the backlog. And mid level and line supervisors apparently have free reign to start termination proceedings - 30 day warnings,etc. it has already started. Look forward to an uptick in "timely" decisions as well as an attrition in decision writers.

Anonymous said...

Yes, by firing half of the decision writers during a hiring freeze, you will certainly free up the backlog... No one ever said.. Just remember to continually pick on your loyal employees until they no longer give a crap. SSA, doing more with less until doing everything with nothing...

Anonymous said...

Long Live King Don

Anonymous said...

Any insider news? What is the news from ODAR about new Medical Expert contracts.... Is the hiring freeze going to impact new contracts for the Medical Expert Consultants who provide medical testimony at the adjudication hearings?