Social Security Disability Program Hires More Judges to Decrease Backlog

by DISABILITY PROFESSIONALS on April 17, 2013

JusticeThe Social Security Administration (SSA) recently announced that it had met its goal to increase the number of administrative law judges (ALJs) to more than 1,500 nationwide. The growing backlog in disability cases has been a concern for years. When the economy took a downturn, the number of cases skyrocketed and claims can sometimes lag for more than a year without an initial determination. More than 830,000 hearing requests are anticipated in fiscal year 2013 alone, and the backlog stands close to 1 million.

Increasing the number of judges who can hear cases is one strategy the SSA is using to decrease the backlog, the other is electronic management of the claim as soon as it enters the agency’s system.

The SSA’s December 2012 staffing figures for judges stood at 1,566 judges. Unfortunately, current federal budget limitations may affect the SSA’s ability to maintain staffing at those levels.

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