May 15, 2007

Toledo Blade On Social Security Backlogs

Some excerpts from the Toledo Blade:
Far too often people with disability claims have petitioned the Social Security Administration only to wait more than a year for a hearing, and in some cases, much longer...

It's scandalous that there's such a backlog of cases. Nationwide more than 730,000 such claims are waiting for decisions, and 40,000 of them are right here in Ohio. The new commissioner of the agency, Michael Astrue, says at least another 160 administrative judges are needed to reduce the backlog. The additional judges would help him meet his goal of having the problem addressed "on my watch."

But Americans awaiting decisions are tired of empty promises. The last commissioner, Jo Anne Barnhart, also visited Ohio and promised to address the problem. That never happened, although the average length of time to get a hearing dropped slightly during her tenure, from 20.6 months in fiscal 2004 to 19.2 months last year.

1 comment:

John Herling said...

Many disability awards have to be reviewed by Claims Authorizers and processed by Benefit Authorizers in the PSC's. When those officers are understaffed to begin with, and when the authorizers are forced to waste their valuable skilled time taking SPIKE calls, is it any wonder that ten of thousands of disability awards are sitting in bins, gathering dust? Would hiring more ALJ's really change this situation?