I heard last week that one North Carolina Social Security District Office had such a backlog of work to be done that they had decided not to process any paperwork appointing attorneys to represent claimants before the agency. Until that District Office processes that paperwork, those claimants are effectively unrepresented. Social Security will refuse to deal with the attorneys. The attorneys won't be sent notices sent those claimants. Social Security will refuse to give those attorneys information about those clients' cases. The attorneys won't be able to file appeals on those clients' behalf. Appeal deadlines may be missed.
While at the National Organization of Social Security Claimants Representative (NOSSCR) meeting last week, I mentioned this development to a couple of attorneys from other states. The same thing had happened in their states recently.
How widespread is this? Why is this happening even after Social Security finally got its appropriation for this fiscal year? If these field offices can't take care of this workload now, how are they going to catch up later?