This comes from a trusted source but I can't verify it otherwise:
1. The ODAR [Office of Disability Adjudication and Review] leadership had a call with all of ODAR management and a separate call with the decision writers. They were told the state of the current way of doing business is not sustainable model. So as part of this, the decision writers were told they had to increase their productivity as there is a backlog of about 52,000 cases that continues to grow. In addition management has to start writing up decisions. This applies to management in ODAR offices that have some training on writing up decisions. It is my understanding the most group supervisors have this training so they have started writing up decisions.
2. SSA [Social Security Administration] slapped a freeze yesterday on all competitive promotions after 1/22/17. This applies to all promotions except career ladder promotions. An example is that you can’t promote someone into a group supervisor position or Hearings Office Director. This also applies to Field Offices. It is Agency wide. This comes from interpreting President Trump’s decision to put a freeze on hiring. That freeze also applies to promotions.