Nov 16, 2012

I Run As Hard As I Can And I Just Keep Getting Further Behind

     From the newsletter of the National Organization of Social Security Claimants Representatives (NOSSCR) here is the workload and performance summary for Social Security's Office of Disability Adjudication and Review (ODAR) for Fiscal Year (FY) 2012 (which began on October 1, 2011 and ended on September 30, 2012). Click on it to see it full size. See below for some highlights and lowlights that I've pulled out.
     Here are some things to notice:
  • Administrative Law Judges (ALJs) available went up by  about 71 or about 6% over the prior FY.
  • Receipts of new requests for hearing went down slightly in FY 2012.
  • Case dispositions went up by about 27,000 in FY 2012 compared to FY 2011.
  • Attorney adjudicator (or senior attorney) dispositions plummeted by almost 16,000 in FY 2012 compared to FY 2011. What happened to the attorney adjudicator program? These dispositions are sorely needed to help out with the backlog.
  • Overtime hours went up dramatically at ODAR from 309,000 hours to 431,159. I think the overtime went down in the rest of Social Security. I expect overtime has been going down since the beginning of the new fiscal year on October 1, 2012. If sequestration (part of the "fiscal cliff) starts on January 1, 2013, the overtime will be almost completely eliminated and the agency will lay off employees. This would be disastrous throughout the Social Security Administration.
  • Despite having more ALJs, more case dispositions and fewer new cases coming in, the number of pending cases per ALJ went up over the course of FY 2012 from 523 to 533. The decrease in attorney adjudicator decisions accounts for only a part of this. I think the reason this doesn't seem to add up is something omitted from this summary -- informal remands, also known as re-recons. These seem to have stopped some months ago. The efforts to reduce the backlogs by paying cases earlier have been cut back dramatically.

1 comment:

John R. Heard said...

How can the pending hearing load be reduced to 70% after 120 days? I don't understand how 30% of the cases get resolved in 4 months after they reach ODAR, even allowing for dismissals and OTRs.