Social Security Problems with Case Backlogs and Denials
Case backlogs and denials have long been a part of the Social Security Disability system. However, the numbers are trending upward for both of these frustrating issues. Social Security Disability cases seem straightforward, determining whether a person is employable on a full-time basis, which is the standard for Social Security Disability. But these cases are currently taking an incredibly long time to be resolved.
The current average processing time for Social Security disability applicants is about four months for an initial determination. According to a 2015 study, only about a third of the millions of applications filed annually are approved at the initial level. Once denied, a case can be appealed to an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ), which can take up to two years. This is obviously a hardship for most people who are applying for disability, because they are unable to work and many have no other means of support.
The Social Security Administration has attempted to correct backlogs in certain districts by assigning some cases for video teleconferences with ALJ’s in other parts of the country. While this has potentially stopped the increase in backlog, it has not cut into the existing backlog. In 2007, 62 percent of cases that went to a hearing were approved, but in 2014, only 45 percent were being approved.
The Social Security Administration has recently passed rules to attempt to streamline the process through administrative changes. The Social Security Administration has changed their listings for impairments and will be giving a longer time frame for notice of a hearing. A Claimant must now receive notice of a hearing 75 days prior to the hearing and all opinion evidence and records must be submitted five days prior to the hearing. They have also passed a new rule allowing physician’s assistants and advanced nurse practitioners to make a diagnosis of a medically determinable impairment. This rule will be in effect for any claims filed after March 27, 2017.
We are hopeful that the Social Security Administration will find a solution to the problems of case backlogs and denials. These problems hurt the people who need Social Security disability the most.
For more information on Social Security disability benefits, contact an experienced attorney at Gardberg & Kemmerly, P.C. today at 251-343-1111 for a free case evaluation. Gardberg & Kemmerly, P.C. represents Social Security disability claimants in Alabama, Mississippi, Florida, and Louisiana at all levels of the disability process from initial application to appeals to Federal Court. Gardberg & Kemmerly, P.C. has been helping Social Security claimants with their disability claims for over 50 years.