From a recent report by Social Security's Office of Inspector General:
To determine the effectiveness of the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) controls for resolving high-priority requests sent via the modernized development worksheet (MDW) process.
Because SSA’s processing centers (PC), teleservice centers, and field offices have different processing roles and systems access, SSA employees are often required to contact other offices to request case processing assistance. Employees use MDWs, manually designated as either routine or high priority, to send requests for action to other field offices or PCs. Per SSA policy, high-priority MDW requests should be limited to situations that involve awards and disallowance of claims; start- and stop- payment actions; appeals; congressional inquiries; and public-relations issues. According to SSA’s policy, employees should follow up on unresolved high-priority requests after 20 calendar days.
From SSA’s Processing Center Action Control System, we identified 121,376 benefit records with high- priority MDWs pending at PCs as of January 28, 2020. Of these, 82,439 (68 percent) had MDWs that were pending for at least 60 days. We reviewed a random sample of 100 benefit records with high-priority MDWs pending at least 60 days.
SSA does not have effective controls for resolving high-priority requests sent via the MDW process. As a result, SSA made improper or delayed payments and inflated PC backlogs, which impeded efforts to improve customer service. For 51 of the 100 sampled benefit records, SSA did not resolve the high-priority MDWs or resolved them longer than 60 days after field office and teleservice center employees sent them to the PCs. ...
For the remaining 49 benefit records, employees (1) resolved the high-priority MDWs but did not clear them or (2) made incorrect inputs on MDW requests. We estimate SSA’s management information was inflated by over 40,000 high-priority MDWs, which further decreased the effectiveness of the MDW process. ...
So much to unpack here. Note that the systems used by the payment centers, teleservice centers and field offices don't really talk with each other very well so Social Security had to come up with the MDW process but that's not really working so well. It sounds like the system has almost completely broken down if it ever worked to begin with. Even when the MDWs are "resolved", often there are errors in the "resolution." And, oh yes, note the special treatment for "public relations issues."
This isn't a video game. Real people suffer lengthy delays in the payment of benefits owed them. Many of these problems never get resolved without frequent external pressure from attorneys representing claimants.