Social Security's Office of Inspector General (OIG) has issued an audit report with the title Completeness of the Social Security Administration's Disability Claims Files. The report found that Social Security is not obtaining all medical records on claimants at the initial and reconsideration levels, mostly because medical providers don't always respond to requests for records or because the claimants failed to inform Social Security of all their medical sources. If you think that claimants are failing to tell Social Security of some of their medical sources for some devious reason, you lack experience with Social Security disability claimants. Virtually always the problem is forgetfulness and confusion. Medical treatment histories can get complicated when you're sick. You get referred to multiple specialists and you forget about some of them. Your brain isn't operating at 100% because of depression. There's rarely a reason for a claimant to even think of concealing any part of their treatment history.
The report assumes that medical development is done by at hearing offices after an Administrative Law Judge hearing is requested. In the very old days, more than 30 years ago, that was the case but now, are you kidding me? Hearing offices don't have anything like the staff to do this.
The report does have this nugget of information on a subject that I don't think I've seen updated in a long time: "For Fiscal Year 2012, SSA reported that it cost the Agency $607 to process an initial DI claim and $463 to process an initial SSI claim, while it cost $2,328 to process a DI case and $1,431 to process an SSI case at the hearing level." I can attribute the lower cost of SSI cases at the initial level to the fact that SSI claimants typically have less access to medical care, which means fewer requests for medical records and less time spent reviewing medical records. The divergence at the hearing level makes no sense to me. On average, SSI files are shorter and take less time to review but the difference isn't that dramatic. I don't know what it is but there has to be some problem with these numbers.