Social Security Backlog To Be Eliminated By 2013, Astrue Says

Social Security Administration Commissioner Michael Astrue believes the agency can elminate its case backlog in the next four years.

According to the Office of the Inspector General, Mr. Astrue appeared before the U.S. Congress on Tuesday, March 24, 2009 and said the SSA is on target to meet its target date of 2013 to catch up on pending claims.

By the end of 2008, the SSA was left with a backlog of 1.4 million claims for Supplemental Security Income and Social Security Disability. Predictions forecast an additional 1.6 million filings to come in 2009.

Nonetheless, Commission Astrue told two House sub-committees that the goal is realistic with proper funding. The average waiting time in order to receive a hearing is roughly 500 days.

Disability claims are expected to grow by 300,000 this year over last year’s numbers. The Commisioner has been customer service and addressing Social Security "limbo" a priority during his tenure.

In October 2007, Mr. Astrue said the administration was making decisions on disability claims faster.

In September, the agency extended its Quick Disability Determination process nationwide. QDD uses predictive modeling to analyze elements of a claim and identify a high potential that the claimant is disabled.

In a New England test market, 3 percent of new cases were recognized as QDD and processed in an average of 11 days. The program has since extended to North Dakota, New Jersey and Arizona. 

The number of "aged" cases in the Social Security backlog, those pending for 1,000 days or more, also saw a reduction in fiscal year 2007. Between September 2006 and September 2007, the number of aged cases went for 63,770 to just 108.

Processing time for initial disability claims fell from 88.4 days in 2006 to 82.8 days in 2007. In order to continue the progress, the SSA is creating a National Hearing Center that will allow Administrative Law Judges to hear cases in backlogged regions using video technology.

Disability recipients and applicants are often concerned with the amount of time it takes to get a hearing. Many consider the wait time excessive.

Obtaining legal representation, however, will markedly increase the likelihood that you will receive a favorable decision for your claim. The law offices of Keller & Keller has helped thousands of disabled people receive the benefits to which they are entitled.

If you'd like to apply for Social Security Disability benefits, or if your application has been denied, contact the Indiana disability attorneys at Keller & Keller. We'll examine your case and help guide you through your options.

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