Oct 31, 2012

Informal Remands -- Have They Stopped?

     I had written earlier about Social Security's faltering efforts to speed up decisions for those who are in the long queue awaiting a hearing on their Social Security disability claims. I am now noticing that my firm, which has six attorneys doing Social Security work, hasn't received an informal remand (or re-recon) decision since June. Informal remands have been one of the most important ways of speeding favorable decisions for those who are disabled. Have informal remands stopped? Have the criteria used to make informal remand decisions changed? 
     Whatever is going on -- or not going on -- increases backlogs and slows down the process. We had progress on backlogs for a time but things seem to be going backwards at the moment. This retrograde movement may get a lot worse next year, depending upon the agency's operating budget and the new Commissioner's attitude. 
     I hate the idea of two year wait times for hearings. It's just brutal on claimants. The newspaper articles of a few years ago about suicides among claimants facing a two year wait for a hearing wasn't just media hype. At ground level, it was very real. I pray we don't go back there.

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