The Social Security Administration (SSA) recently released an updated plan to reduce the hearing backlog for people waiting for hearings on their Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) claims. The updated plan is part of the Compassionate and Responsive Services (CARES) initiative of the SSA. The original CARES plan set a goal of 1,128,576 dispositions within the last eighteen months, but the reality is that they fell short by over 100,000 claims. It is interesting that the SSA failed to meet its goals despite receiving 105,000 fewer requests for hearings than expected over the last eighteen months. The SSA attributes its failure to meet goals and reduce backlogs due to shortage of hearing level support staff, including administrative law judges and decision writers.
As part of the plan to reduce the backlog, the SSA looks to an increase in non-ALJ adjudications such as remand to State DDS agencies and on-the-record decisions. There is also a continuing move to collaborative technologies to improve support staff efficiencies, as well as pre-hearing conferences and centralized vocational and medical expert resources. The most important factor, though, will be an increase in the number of administrative law judges and necessary support staff.
If you need more information about a Social Security Disability/SSI, personal injury, EEOICPA, long or short-term disability, Railroad Retirement Board disability, or a workers compensation matter, please contact the Law Offices of Tony Farmer and John Dreiser for a free case evaluation. We can be reached at (865) 584-1211 or (800) 806-4611 or through our website.