There are several publications at the SSA website that report a decrease in CDR completions of 60-65% for the years 2004 – 2008. This would indicate a three-year backlog is plausible.
In the recently released FY 2009 (10/1/2008 - 9/30/2009) Performance & Accountability Report, the SSA estimates a backlog of 1.4 million CDRs:
SSA is also facing a large backlog of full medical continuing disability reviews (CDR). Between FYs 2004 and 2008, the number of full medical CDRs conducted by SSA decreased by approximately 65 percent. At the end of FY 2009, SSA had a backlog of approximately 1.4 million CDRs that were due but were not released to the DDSs for processing, and this number is estimated to increase in FY 2010.
In its FY 2011 Budget & Appropriations Request, additional funds were requested to reduce the backlog. The target for CDRs was increased from 954,000 in FY 2010 to 1,388,000 in FY 2011.
As justification for the increase in appropriations, a recent Office of Inspector General (OIG) report was referenced:
The OIG has issued a report on overpayments in SSA’s disability programs, estimating that SSA had not detected about $3.2 billion in overpayments; we also estimated that SSA paid about $2.1 billion in benefits annually to potentially ineligible beneficiaries. Although SSA tries to achieve a balance between stewardship and service, it is a challenge due to the funding needed for the agency to conduct an adequate number of both medical and work-related Continuing Disability Reviews (CDRs). Although the agency had special funding for CDRs from FYs 1996 through 2002, and SSA’s data shows that CDRs save about $10 for every $1 spent, the agency has cut back on this workload…
…Along with the increased receipts, some DDSs are facing high attrition rates, hiring freezes, and employee furloughs, all of which affect SSA’s ability to process the disability workload. SSA is also facing a large backlog of full medical continuing disability reviews (CDRs). From FY 2003 to FY 2008, the number of full medical CDRs conducted by SSA decreased by 60 percent. The backlog of CDRs means that beneficiaries who no longer qualify for disability are receiving payments improperly.
The plan to reduce the backlog is use of the new “Short” CDR (SSA-454-ICR) that was submitted for approval in July 2009.
We are also implementing an electronic CDR process, which increases our speed and productivity compared to a paper CDR process. In FY 2010 and FY 2011, we plan to increase the volume of periodic medical CDRs, helping us continue to reverse a trend in declining CDRs.
The use of SSA-454-ICR began in 2010, with an estimated roll-out of 18 months. Use of SSA-454-ICR is dependent on software upgrades at the state DDS offices. Once all the DDS offices have implemented the upgrades, the SSA-454-BK (Long) will become obsolete.
Budget – Justification of Estimates for Appropriations Committee http://www.ssa.gov/budget/
Performance & Accountability Reporthttp://www.socialsecurity.gov/finance/
Annual Performance Planhttp://www.socialsecurity.gov/performance/