Recently in Backlog of claims Category

Social Security Administration Increases Administrative Law Judges

May 1, 2013


As of December 2012, the Social Security Administration had 1,566 administrative law judges on its roster. That is a few judges more than the initially stated goal of more than 1500 judges. In 2009, the Social Security Administration had a severe shortage of administrative law judges, with just 1000 judges.

The increased number of administrative law judges who are now available to hear Social Security disability hearings will definitely have an impact on the speed with which claims can be processed. The Social Security Administration is currently dealing with a major backlog of claims, and the average claim can take months to be processed. Increasing the number of judges is just one way in which some of that backlog pressure can be released.

However, it's far too early to expect any improvement in the speeding up of claims processing. The Social Security Administration's ability to retain the administrative law judges that it currently has might be hampered by federal budgetary restrictions.

The Social Security Disability Insurance program is meant to provide regular monthly benefits to people who are aged 65 and above. In order to be eligible for disability benefits, you must no longer be working, and must no longer be capable of earning an income because of a severe disability. The medical condition should have lasted for a minimum of 12 months, or should be expected to last for at least 12 months.

Unfortunately, the numbers of people who actually meet the criteria for Social Security disability benefits often find that their claims are delayed, and even denied in some cases. In such cases, it's important to speak with an attorney about your rights.

Presenting a strong case for disability benefits before an administrative law judge requires more than just knowing the procedures. It requires meticulous preparation, collection of all relevant documents, and careful planning so that you can present a solid case.

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Backlog Leads to Inadequate Social Security Claim Review

October 4, 2012

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The Social Security Administration is so overrun by pending claims that officials are unable to conduct adequate reviews of applications, compounding problems at the already beleaguered agency.

A report released recently by congressional investigators revealed to Georgia social security claims lawyers that officials at Social Security are frequently overworked, and often, award disability benefits without conducting a proper review of these claims. The investigators analyzed a total of 300 Social Security applications from Alabama, Oklahoma and Virginia. In all of these cases, persons were awarded disability benefits. However, in more than 25% of these cases, the benefits were awarded without taking the consideration the presence of insufficient or incomplete evidence.

The investigators found that in several of the cases that were analyzed, Social Security officials approved of the claim without the benefit of strong medical evidence to corroborate the finding. In other cases, investigators were not able to explain their medical basis for the decision adequately. In yet other cases, the judges were overworked trying to deal with the case backlog, and were simply not able to review all the pieces of evidence.

This is not the first time that the Social Security Administration has faced criticism over its inability to deal with the backlog of disability claims. The agency currently faces a huge backlog of pending claims, although it says that it is working on reducing the backlog, by making improvements to the current system.

The economic downturn which began in 2008 further compounded Social Security's backlog problems. There were a huge number of claims that were filed by workers who lost their jobs, as well as aging baby boomers. This influx of benefits claims simply added to the backlog, causing immense strain on the agency's already limited resources, leaving the Social Security Administration teetering on the brink of insolvency.

Lisa Siegel is a Social Security disability lawyer, helping persons with disabilities in the metro Atlanta region recover their rightful disability benefits. If you are eligible for Social Security, and have had a claim denied, speak with us to learn your rights.