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Posts tagged "Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)"

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) - Social Security Administration Funding Increased under Latest Spending Bill

On March 23, 2018, the Senate passed its version of the previously passed House bill for the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2018. After years of almost equal spending, the Social Security Administration (SSA) will see a $480,000,000 increase in administrative funding over the fiscal year of 2017 appropriation. The bill directs the SSA to spend $100,000,000 of increased funding on reducing the disability hearing backlog for people waiting for claims on Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) claims. Additionally, $280,000,000 of the increase will go to information technology and modernization improvement that would also help increase efficiency of the SSA. Part of the agreement also supports efforts to modernize case processing systems used by State Disability Determination Sections, which are the arms of the Social Security Administration that evaluate and determine eligibility for claimants at the initial or reconsideration levels.

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) -Claimants Awaiting Hearings Drops Below One Million

A recurring theme for my blog entries is the average processing time and number of claims waiting for hearings. Recently released statistics by the Social Security Administration (SSA) reveal that the number of Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) claims awaiting ALJ hearings continues to drop. As of February of 2018 there were 1,001,231 claims pending and as of mid-March the backlog dropped below 1,000,000. The decrease in the backlog is largely due to declining numbers of hearing requests, though ALJ productivity has increased slightly from 1.92 dispositions per ALJ per workday in fiscal year 2017 to 1.97 so far in fiscal year 2018. Additionally, there were 42 more active ALJs in the end of February than there were on average last fiscal year. However, as recently noted the average processing times for most hearing offices remain high.

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) - Benefits of Representation

A recent report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) shows statistical evidence in the fact that claimants in Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) claims have a three times higher rate of success at hearings than those claimants who do not have representatives. The report sites as one of the reasons for higher success rate is that the representative can help the claimant ensure that medical evidence and other evidence is fully developed and help the claimant present testimony at the hearing. The GAO report also sites representatives' selectivity regarding claims as a possible factor as well.

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) - Average Processing Times and Approval Rates at Hearings

One of the toughest things I have to do when explaining to people who are applying for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or whose application has been denied is the length of the process. I try to regularly provide an update on processing times and approval rates for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) claims at some hearing offices (ODAR), but it has been since January of 2017. Please remember that these statistics are only for claims pending at the hearing level or Office of Disability Adjudication and Review. The claims at a hearing office have already been through the Application and Reconsideration steps (typically 6-12 months of waiting already).

Applications for Disability Benefits Continue to Decline - Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)

Contrary to one of the popular myths that everyone is trying to get disability (another is that everyone with nothing wrong with them gets disability) are the recent statistics from the Social Security Administration (SSA) indicating that applications for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) have decreased every year since peaking in 2010. In 2017, there were 2.17 million initial applications for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), which represents a 6.4 percent decrease from 2016. Additionally, 2017 saw a decrease in the number of requests for hearings down to 620,977 from 698,579 in 2016. That difference represents an eleven percent (11%) decrease in the number of requests for hearings filed.

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) - Update of Evidence Submission Rules

I recently blogged about new rules promulgated by the Social Security Administration (SSA) regarding Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) claims. There has been a lot of confusion regarding whether an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) can decline to consider evidence that was not necessarily provided prior to the five business day rule, but in which the claimant or claimant's attorney provided information informing the ALJ about the existence of the written evidence prior to five business days of the scheduled hearing.

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) - 2018 Cost-of-Living Adjustment (COLA)

In October of 2017, the government announced information important to Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and SSI recipients, as well as Social Security retirees. Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and SSI recipients will see a 2.0% increase in benefits for the cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) starting in January of 2018. The COLA is based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI) from the third quarter of the current year. The COLA affects many important aspects of the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and SSI programs besides the actual amount of benefits paid to claimants. The COLA was put into place in 1975.

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) - Plan to Reduce Hearing Office Backlog

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.

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) - Compassionate Allowance List Increased by Three Conditions

People seeking Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits should be aware that the Social Security Administration (SSA) recently announced the addition of three conditions to its Compassionate Allowance (CAL) List. The CAL Program is designed to quickly identify diseases or other medical conditions that would invariable medially qualify the application for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) under Step Three of the sequential evaluation process ("The Listings.") The idea is that the conditions are of such as severity that the claimant would qualify based on even a minimal objective medication information. If the condition does not meet the strict criteria, it would not be designated as a CAL case. CAL cases receive expedited processing within the contest of the existing disability determination process. The three new CAL conditions are:

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) - Average Processing Times and Approval Rates at Hearings

One of the toughest things I have to do when explaining to people who are applying for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or whose application has been denied is the length of the process. I try to regularly provide an update on processing times and approval rates for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) claims at some hearing offices (ODAR), but it has been since January of 2017. Please remember that these statistics are only for claims pending at the hearing level or Office of Disability Adjudication and Review. The claims at a hearing office have already been through the Application and Reconsideration steps (typically 6-12 months of waiting already).

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