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SSA delays SSD approvals in anticipation of new fiscal year

According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, Social Security Administration employees and administrative law judges in several states were recently told to slow down or completely stop their work on Social Security Disability cases this week. The slowdown is believed to be a tactic of managers to increase their offices' appearance of productivity in the new fiscal year, which begins next week.

Specifically, the newspaper reports that judges and SSA employees in at least seven states were told at the beginning of the week to set Social Security Disability cases aside this week and focus their efforts on other SSA duties. As a result, the Social Security Administration's Office of Disability Adjudication and Review closed out just 230 cases nationwide on Monday. This is significantly lower than the 3,000 cases it usually closes out on an average day.

The orders to stop work on disability cases are believed to have come from SSA office managers, in an effort to boost their productivity in the new fiscal year beginning on Monday. Managers who report high numbers are eligible for bonuses or promotions.

After the many reports from both the SSA and the media about the increasing wait times for disability appeals and the ever-increasing backlog of SSD and Supplemental Security Insurance applications, it is frustrating to learn that SSA managers are causing thousands of disabled Americans to wait even longer before they can begin receiving much-needed benefits. Perhaps the SSA managers have forgotten that there are real people behind SSD applications.

Source: Social Security News, "The Wall Street Journal Reports On The End Of The Fiscal Year Anomaly," Charles T. Hall, Sept. 30, 2011

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