Upon taking office, Donald Trump did what Republican Presidents have often done in the past, order a federal hiring freeze. This is based upon a general contempt for the work that federal agencies do and the federal employees who do the work.
These hiring freezes always start breaking down as it becomes apparent that voters will be discomfited by understaffed federal agencies. Social Security is usually one of the first agencies where it becomes apparent that a hiring freeze will cause visible problems.
The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) is in charge of administering Trump's hiring freeze and can grant exceptions to it. OPM has now granted an exception to the hiring freeze to allow Social Security to hire Administrative Law Judges, hearing support staff and processing center employees. Unfortunately, there is no exception so far for field office staff.