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Author Topic: Is Senator really checking?  (Read 2459 times)

jsm

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Re: Is Senator really checking?
« Reply #15 on: July 22, 2017, 10:13:06 AM »
Update:  Still no decision.  Hearing was April 20.  It's now been 91 days.  I got another (form) letter from Sen. Gosar's office, and attached was SSA response to his request for information.  It said that my hearing was waiting to be scheduled.....um....had hearing in April! 

Just proves to me that Sen. Gosar hasn't even looked at my case.

What do I want?  I want them to make a decision.  I wanted Gosar to find out exactly why it has taken so long for me to go through this whole ordeal?  Would that have been too much to ask?  I guess so.

:(


And just what would you do with that information, why it has taken so long for your specific case? How does it help you? Or is what you really want (and I would want it too as well as everyone waiting for a decision) is for your case to be moved to the head of the line and be given priority handling?

You probably won't believe this, but the staff of SSA and ODAR and the PC would be happy to get your case finished and off of their to do list. And because there are timeliness goals, the individual stats of each employee are used in their performance reviews. So the individual employee is motivated to move your case along. Your case and all the other cases on their pending list.

If you think your Senator should be personally overseeing the minutia of case processing for you, I hate to say this in a post because it may come across wrong, you are just not that special. And that is not why we elect Senators. Their main job is to look at the big picture and pass legislation that addresses broad problems that affect all citizens. Although they can be helpful for individual cases that have fallen between the cracks or have hit a bureaucratic roadblock.  They also create the laws that lead to the regulations that lead to hiring government employees who are given the job of making decisions on individual cases. The Senator does not have either the authority or the knowledge to make the legally defensible decision on your case.

If your Senator really wants SSA to make faster decisions, he would vote to give more funding for more staff. Of course, there has to be money in the budget to do it which means something else gets cut.

I do not know the history of your specific claim, but waiting 90, 120 or 180 days for ODAR to finish is not that unusual. In order for to determine an average processing of 60 days, there has to be cases that are quicker and cases that are slower.

I also realize that this dispassionate observation is unlikely to make you feel better, but I am doing it anyway.

SteelSpine

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Re: Is Senator really checking?
« Reply #16 on: July 25, 2017, 05:00:30 AM »

Ultimately the manager at my local branch was the person that resolved things both times.  I'm aware that they have changed the supervisor to supervisor rules recently, that might complicate things, but in your case, you probably need  to be dealing with a manager at this point.


Yeah, I think you're right..  I'm going to call my local SSA office today and request to speak to a manager.  Not really sure how to ask them to call the manager at the processing center since there isn't really a procedure for it anymore, but I guess I'll just tell him/her my story and ask them for their help.

When I called my local office in May, I was told it would be no more than 60 days until I finally got my back pay.  Today is day 61 since that conversation took place.  I'm beyond upset at this point.

Kafkasrecruit

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Re: Is Senator really checking?
« Reply #17 on: July 26, 2017, 10:36:30 PM »
So, 120 days or even 9 months to see back pay or benefits? Both?
That's essentially approving benefits and never paying them? Is there such a thing as Dire Need after hearing and approval? That long as wait... Not possible for done of us

Lit Love

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Re: Is Senator really checking?
« Reply #18 on: July 27, 2017, 12:23:06 AM »
So, 120 days or even 9 months to see back pay or benefits? Both?
That's essentially approving benefits and never paying them? Is there such a thing as Dire Need after hearing and approval? That long as wait... Not possible for done of us

Usually monthly benefits start in 30-90 days after approval.  Receiving approval after ALJ hearing can take 60-90 days, and sometimes longer.  Backpay can take a while, but 9 months is not common.  Some receive their backpay before their approval letter.

Even those living in a shelter no longer qualify as Dire Need, so only your local office can answer that question.

 
« Last Edit: July 28, 2017, 12:30:47 PM by Lit Love »

jsm

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Re: Is Senator really checking?
« Reply #19 on: July 28, 2017, 10:09:29 AM »
So, 120 days or even 9 months to see back pay or benefits? Both?
That's essentially approving benefits and never paying them? Is there such a thing as Dire Need after hearing and approval? That long as wait... Not possible for done of us

Well, no. Paying benefits in 3 months or 9 months is not at all the same as never paying them.

Kafkasrecruit

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Re: Is Senator really checking?
« Reply #20 on: August 01, 2017, 10:35:35 PM »
So, 120 days or even 9 months to see back pay or benefits? Both?
That's essentially approving benefits and never paying them? Is there such a thing as Dire Need after hearing and approval? That long as wait... Not possible for done of us

Well, no. Paying benefits in 3 months or 9 months is not at all the same as never paying them.
True. I should have added the condition "if you're hit by a car or your conditions result in death before 9 months" It's a paradox question.

Lit Love

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Re: Is Senator really checking?
« Reply #21 on: August 02, 2017, 12:37:02 AM »
So, 120 days or even 9 months to see back pay or benefits? Both?
That's essentially approving benefits and never paying them? Is there such a thing as Dire Need after hearing and approval? That long as wait... Not possible for done of us

Well, no. Paying benefits in 3 months or 9 months is not at all the same as never paying them.
True. I should have added the condition "if you're hit by a car or your conditions result in death before 9 months" It's a paradox question.

You need to read some of your older posts.  You have survived long past when you thought you could manage without an approval.

Kafkasrecruit

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Re: Is Senator really checking?
« Reply #22 on: August 03, 2017, 08:43:55 AM »
So, 120 days or even 9 months to see back pay or benefits? Both?
That's essentially approving benefits and never paying them? Is there such a thing as Dire Need after hearing and approval? That long as wait... Not possible for done of us

Well, no. Paying benefits in 3 months or 9 months is not at all the same as never paying them.
True. I should have added the condition "if you're hit by a car or your conditions result in death before 9 months" It's a paradox question.

You need to read some of your older posts.  You have survived long past when you thought you could manage without an approval.

Yeah - someone said to me recently "The miracle is not having a lot or everything you want. The true miracle is having just enough of what you need when you need it.  I continue to pray for those miracles. Being human, however, I allow myself the occasional doubt. It reminds me what faith is.  The doubt, that is.

Kafkasrecruit

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Re: Is Senator really checking?
« Reply #23 on: August 03, 2017, 08:46:21 AM »
So, 120 days or even 9 months to see back pay or benefits? Both?
That's essentially approving benefits and never paying them? Is there such a thing as Dire Need after hearing and approval? That long as wait... Not possible for done of us

Well, no. Paying benefits in 3 months or 9 months is not at all the same as never paying them.
True. I should have added the condition "if you're hit by a car or your conditions result in death before 9 months" It's a paradox question.

You need to read some of your older posts.  You have survived long past when you thought you could manage without an approval.
Can tell you this, too. The whole experience -- it just steels me in my conviction. Conviction to do whatever it is I can to see this process and the laws around it changed so that the amount and level of human suffering it causes is reduced.
It's cruel and unusual punishment for a program that supposedly exists to protect disabled workers. It actually punishes instead. Reprehensible.

jsm

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Re: Is Senator really checking?
« Reply #24 on: August 03, 2017, 10:11:26 AM »
Curious - do you think that the rules are too strict and that more applicants should be approved with less severe impairments or that the decision should not be based on a universal standard but should be based just on what your doctor says or that SSA needs to start with the assumption that no one would file unless they were truly disabled and it is up to SSA to prove otherwise or that the lower level decisions should be eliminated and everyone goes to an ALJ immediately or that the process just takes too long because there are so many people waiting for a decision? Exactly what and how would you change the process and are those changes actually affordable in the long run?

Kafkasrecruit

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Re: Is Senator really checking?
« Reply #25 on: August 25, 2017, 08:51:00 AM »
Curious - do you think that the rules are too strict and that more applicants should be approved with less severe impairments or that the decision should not be based on a universal standard but should be based just on what your doctor says or that SSA needs to start with the assumption that no one would file unless they were truly disabled and it is up to SSA to prove otherwise or that the lower level decisions should be eliminated and everyone goes to an ALJ immediately or that the process just takes too long because there are so many people waiting for a decision? Exactly what and how would you change the process and are those changes actually affordable in the long run?

I think any change includes the entirety of the problem: Process, People, and Information. Can't change just the process without also addressing the issues, deficiencies etc related to actors and information involved.

Culture, Skills, and Capacity are more discrete items related to certain actors in context. There's no simple answer. I get that.

Kafkasrecruit

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Re: Is Senator really checking?
« Reply #26 on: August 25, 2017, 09:08:34 AM »
I received a fourth letter this week from Senator Boozman's office with the same language in the previous letters stating there had been "no change to the status of my claim" or in regard to when and if a hearing had been scheduled.
A hearing was put on calendar about two months ago. I originally contacted my senator because ODAR had estimated about 3 1/2 years before I would attend a hearing. It would be almost 2 years before I even received notice of one. Both timeline estimates from ODAR seemed excessively long and unfair given national averages, so I contacted my senator.

After receiving the same (form) letter from Boozman's office this week stating that there was still no hearing scheduled (assumed based on the "no change in status language), I called them to ask them what "status" means for the purpose of their letters to claimant/constituents.
The staff member/case worker at Boozman's office says it means state of the claim before or after claim for benefits is approved/denied. Results of any hearing.
She said they do not provide any other information or any more detailed information in letters to people asking for help with a government agency so that they don't inadvertently give inaccurate information to a constituent.
I asked her whether she thought the letters they currently send could be misleading or considered inaccurate (because I originally asked them to help get answer on why a hearing in Arkansas would take nearly 4 years from date of request to even be held.) Their letters, in answer to that question, imply no hearing has been scheduled or held, even months past the date a hearing was scheduled. And, her explanation implies I could expect to continue to get the same letter even after a hearing was held as long as ODAR/SSA had not yet produced a letter confirming approval/denial of benefits.)

So -- no help from Boozman's office. Cotton's office on the other hand (even though I did NOT ask them to track my case) called me the week after my hearing was scheduled and told me about it -- that was July. Cotton's office said they would call me again after the hearing to hear how it went.

So I guess it all depends on one's senator and the staff assisting with casework. Some will help. Others won't.


Kafkasrecruit

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Re: Is Senator really checking?
« Reply #27 on: August 25, 2017, 09:14:10 AM »


Curious - do you think that the rules are too strict and that more applicants should be approved with less severe impairments or that the decision should not be based on a universal standard but should be based just on what your doctor says or that SSA needs to start with the assumption that no one would file unless they were truly disabled and it is up to SSA to prove otherwise or that the lower level decisions should be eliminated and everyone goes to an ALJ immediately or that the process just takes too long because there are so many people waiting for a decision? Exactly what and how would you change the process and are those changes actually affordable in the long run?

Here's part of the problem that is not easily fixed through changes in process or how information is handled in the process: More people entered the workforce after the 1960s than before. Baby-boomers are retiring (or dying) and some of those are becoming disabled before retiring.
Many more women are included in this number.  Was that anticipated? And how do you address the increase?

I think staffing up SSA would help. Money would help. It won't fix all the problems but a larger portion of the budget applied to social security disability couldn't hurt. (And good luck with that.)

jsm

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Re: Is Senator really checking?
« Reply #28 on: August 25, 2017, 06:39:47 PM »
Either more staff or less complex rules and exceptions. Or both, really. Yep, that would help.

Did you anticipate all the changes in society that have happened in your lifetime? Is there anyone clairvoyant enough or clever enough to be able to anticipate anything far into the future? Not sure what you expect from lawmakers and actuaries. They make educated guesses. There is no simple answer to your question about the planning. I suppose there are minutes to meetings and notes taken by various contributors over the last 80 years of Social Security. Probably some scholarly papers written and relied upon. Changes in society and the role of government in helping meet the needs of the citizens. SS started as retirement only; then widows and orphans; and the disabled. Law and policies have changed along with society.

So you at least are making your senator aware of your problem, which may or may not influence the way they feel about SS policy.

How about this for an answer to why your hearing took so long, the request was lost or assigned to a backlogged absent employee and it got moved to the bottom of the pile, more than once.  Not what SSA wants to happen, but alot of paper (and data) is added to the backlogged workloads every day. And, depending on how an individual office and individual employees manage those assorted workloads, some things get priority handling and other things don't. Everything cannot be a priority. I hate to say it, but SSA offices have been known to mishandle appeals submitted. And that is just at the initial level. All along the appeal path, there are backlogs and every so often, an less than competent employee.

It seems like you want someone to research your individual case and justify or explain the delays along the way. I suppose SSA could try to be like tracking a Fed Ex package - an ap that shows where your "case" is at any given moment.  It is already often difficult to talk to SSA on the phone, but if there is an ap, then you wouldn't need to talk to a person. No more 800# teleservice reps.  I digress.  But since there is no such system, I don't think you are going to find out the 'true' reason your case has taken as long as it has. A screwup somewhere along the long line. SSA doesn't have the staff who can go back and reconstruct this, or at least who have the time to do so.

I guess you know that you have to stay proactive but that doesn't mean it will go your way.

Kafkasrecruit

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Re: Is Senator really checking?
« Reply #29 on: September 01, 2017, 10:22:16 AM »
Either more staff or less complex rules and exceptions. Or both, really. Yep, that would help.

Did you anticipate all the changes in society that have happened in your lifetime? Is there anyone clairvoyant enough or clever enough to be able to anticipate anything far into the future? Not sure what you expect from lawmakers and actuaries. They make educated guesses. There is no simple answer to your question about the planning. I suppose there are minutes to meetings and notes taken by various contributors over the last 80 years of Social Security. Probably some scholarly papers written and relied upon. Changes in society and the role of government in helping meet the needs of the citizens. SS started as retirement only; then widows and orphans; and the disabled. Law and policies have changed along with society.

So you at least are making your senator aware of your problem, which may or may not influence the way they feel about SS policy.

How about this for an answer to why your hearing took so long, the request was lost or assigned to a backlogged absent employee and it got moved to the bottom of the pile, more than once.  Not what SSA wants to happen, but alot of paper (and data) is added to the backlogged workloads every day. And, depending on how an individual office and individual employees manage those assorted workloads, some things get priority handling and other things don't. Everything cannot be a priority. I hate to say it, but SSA offices have been known to mishandle appeals submitted. And that is just at the initial level. All along the appeal path, there are backlogs and every so often, an less than competent employee.

It seems like you want someone to research your individual case and justify or explain the delays along the way. I suppose SSA could try to be like tracking a Fed Ex package - an ap that shows where your "case" is at any given moment.  It is already often difficult to talk to SSA on the phone, but if there is an ap, then you wouldn't need to talk to a person. No more 800# teleservice reps.  I digress.  But since there is no such system, I don't think you are going to find out the 'true' reason your case has taken as long as it has. A screwup somewhere along the long line. SSA doesn't have the staff who can go back and reconstruct this, or at least who have the time to do so.

I guess you know that you have to stay proactive but that doesn't mean it will go your way.
Will reply to more, but I wanted to address just the first question as though to me.
It wasn't as much an inability to foresee future as I've been shocked by how utterly blind I've been to social issues that are not new.
Issues around discrimination, ableism inherent in politics and medicine. How poverty is self-perpetuating. Vulnerabilities are exploited as though these are revenue streams, too.

 

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