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Author Topic: Improving wait times  (Read 7118 times)

RNyorkiemom

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Improving wait times
« on: August 27, 2016, 08:06:27 AM »
I have been reading and talking to a lot of friends who are in the medical field.  Thee is so much on the new changes to the disability process.  They are looking to cut waiting times down to 200+ days, they are eliminating the sinle decision maker process in 2018. They are looking to hire a butt load of new judges and senior attorneys. They are changing the appeals council remands and having ALJs just deal with the backlog.

The question I have is has anyone here had any of their attorney tell them about this.  I have seen a recent increase on this board and others where the wait and the processing times seem short in some srates.  It fascinates me because in my reading to find the arctics from 2009 about how bad the backlog was and how the government cut the backlog down then have the same issues than a decade later. The ssa is the largest group employed by the US government.
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Lit Love

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Re: Improving wait times
« Reply #1 on: August 27, 2016, 10:16:11 AM »
It's not uncommon for attorneys to apply for a position of ALJ and then after being hired, move to another branch asap.  They have difficult caseloads and not enough resources, and many simply prefer other types of law. 

Regarding SS staff in general, they haven't been able to replenish retiring staff due to to budget issues, and the jobs are complex and difficult.  If someone like jsm retires, how many years will it take for a new staffer to become as knowledgeable? 

There is always talk about how SS is going to try and improve things.  Ten years ago they urgently needed to have the D.O.T. updated, or switch to a new job database, and that has not happened yet. 


Just Me

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Re: Improving wait times
« Reply #2 on: August 27, 2016, 10:58:04 AM »
What knowledge does someone in the medical field have regarding changes in staffing at SSA ? As Lit Love stated, there has been "talk" about improving things for yrs, but so far "talk": is all it is. Congress has to appropriate funds before changes can be made. Personally, I don't see that happening regarding the things you mentioned any time soon. You can't go by what other people have heard, read or hope happens.
« Last Edit: August 27, 2016, 10:59:43 AM by Just Me »
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TraceyJuliet

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Re: Improving wait times
« Reply #3 on: August 27, 2016, 03:51:32 PM »
Who told you this??? I'd like to know the years of waiting is taking a toll on me (and I know I'm not the only one). Some good news would be mighty encouraging.
I survived the 80's, drug rehab, twins, and divorce. None of those things were as stressful as the disability process.

Lit Love

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Re: Improving wait times
« Reply #4 on: August 27, 2016, 04:28:23 PM »
One of the reason the site encourages linking to .gov sites is because until you see official policy or law changes in writing, along with effective date changes, it's a waste of energy focusing on what might be--especially so for those with limited energy.

For those in a DIRE Need situation, it's important to file those requests. For all others, utilize the wait time to educate yourself about the hearing process and add appropriate evidence to your file.

RNyorkiemom

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Re: Improving wait times
« Reply #5 on: August 27, 2016, 10:41:45 PM »
It is on the OIG (Office of Inspector General) and it is on te SSA website under Disability Backlog. It list the multiple step plan the SSA has developed.  The other is a blog written by SSA attorneys and I will try and find the link.
No matter what happens in life try to smile and beleive every thing will be ok!!!  Then smile vs cry!!!!   😅😅😅😅😂

TraceyJuliet

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Re: Improving wait times
« Reply #6 on: August 27, 2016, 11:26:27 PM »
One of the reason the site encourages linking to .gov sites is because until you see official policy or law changes in writing, along with effective date changes, it's a waste of energy focusing on what might be--especially so for those with limited energy.

For those in a DIRE Need situation, it's important to file those requests. For all others, utilize the wait time to educate yourself about the hearing process and add appropriate evidence to your file.

Well said - thank you Lit Love. I'm tired of these claims that have no substantial backup. It gives some of us a false sense of hope.
I survived the 80's, drug rehab, twins, and divorce. None of those things were as stressful as the disability process.

newdawn

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Re: Improving wait times
« Reply #7 on: August 28, 2016, 01:29:04 AM »
The last time I researched this subject in one of Sassypaws' prior threads, I found a few links and saved them for future reference.

From what I remember, it looked like some of the same stuff and goals that they always put out about trying to decrease the backlog but there were a few new initiatives*. Anyone who is interested can read more and come to their own conclusions.

One thing I didn't realize is that it takes about a year to test, hire and train a new ALJ (from the Lankford press release source cited below) and they've had problems getting enough qualified candidates and retaining them, in addition to having some years where they lacked the funding to hire enough ALJs to keep up with caseloads.

Also, I would hate to be a Senior Attorney reviewing case files for the "1000+ Page Case Initiative":

As of November 2015, data indicated that nearly five percent of all cases have over 1,000 pages of medical evidence. With the 1000+ Page Case Review, Senior Attorneys conduct pre-hearing reviews of cases with large medical files, summarize the information, and provide an analysis for the ALJ. https://www.ssa.gov/legislation/testimony_051216.html

https://www.ssa.gov/legislation/testimony_051216.html (a good briefing of the current initiatives)

https://www.performance.gov/content/reduce-disability-hearings-pending

https://www.ssa.gov/agency/performance/2016/FINAL_2015_2017_APR_508_compliant.pdf (see page 72)

https://oig.ssa.gov/sites/default/files/audit/full/pdf/A-12-15-15005.pdf

https://www.ssa.gov/legislation/testimony_051216_AttachmentA.pdf

https://www.ssa.gov/legislation/testimony_051216_AttachmentC.pdf

http://www.hsgac.senate.gov/hearings/examining-due-process-in-administrative-hearings (there's a few interesting documents that can be downloaded from this page... don't forget the one near the top titled "Answered QFRs - 05-12-2016 RAFM Hearing")

https://www.lankford.senate.gov/news/press-releases/senator-lankford-heitkamp-social-security-administration-disability-backlog-proposal-is-a-problem

https://www.lankford.senate.gov/news/press-releases/senator-lankford-examines-massive-social-security-administration-disability-backlog

*Here is something new that I posted about before:

Apparently some non-disability and remand cases are now (for a short time) being directed to AAJs at the Appeal Council for processing rather than being decided by ALJs. I think this is part of the "CARES" plan. It is not without controversy. I will not go into that here because it does not seem to apply to your situation since you're not a remand case and the case is not about non-disability issues.
« Last Edit: August 28, 2016, 01:31:24 AM by newdawn »
Location: IL
Age at Application: 31
Disability: Depression, anxiety
Applied: 11/2013
First Denial: 03/2014
Reconsideration Denial: 11/2014
Hearing: 11/13/15 (Friday the 13th!)
ALJ Approval: 01/15/16 Fully Favorable
Back Pay: 02/13/16
Award Letter: 02/17/16
1st monthly benefit: 03/21/16

newdawn

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Re: Improving wait times
« Reply #8 on: August 28, 2016, 01:35:50 AM »
Well said - thank you Lit Love. I'm tired of these claims that have no substantial backup. It gives some of us a false sense of hope.

I also wanted to tell you Tracey that I'm still thinking of you and hoping your hearing date will be scheduled asap. I don't know if any of the new initiatives are actually working, but at least SSA is still acknowledging the hearing wait time issue and supposedly trying their best to reduce wait times.
Location: IL
Age at Application: 31
Disability: Depression, anxiety
Applied: 11/2013
First Denial: 03/2014
Reconsideration Denial: 11/2014
Hearing: 11/13/15 (Friday the 13th!)
ALJ Approval: 01/15/16 Fully Favorable
Back Pay: 02/13/16
Award Letter: 02/17/16
1st monthly benefit: 03/21/16

TraceyJuliet

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Re: Improving wait times
« Reply #9 on: August 28, 2016, 07:49:27 PM »
Thank you Dawn - your caring heart means a lot to me.
I survived the 80's, drug rehab, twins, and divorce. None of those things were as stressful as the disability process.

 

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