Social Security judges raise concerns over disability quotas

When a Pittsburgh resident is looking to appeal a denied Social Security disability insurance claim, his or her case will eventually be heard by an administrative court judge. The judge will review the case file in conjunction with a hearing and make a decision. However, a large group of these judges filed a lawsuit that claims they are being required to hear too many cases.

The Social Security Administration requires judges to handle as many as 700 Social Security disability appeals each year, which is an enormous burden for one person. A major concern with these hefty quotas is that judges are unable to keep pace, so they don’t provide adequate time to every SSDI case.

The problem that many judges see with the quotas is compounded by the frequency of appeals and the size of each applicant’s file. Since 1990, the number of SSD claims has increased by over 550,000. Additionally, each case file can be as many as 500 pages in length to include relevant medical documentation.

Some observers note that the lack of a permanent SSA Commissioner could be influencing a number of the problems that currently exist. Between quotas, a massive backlog of claims and budgetary concerns, the system is currently under stress. The hope is that a positive solution will be found to help ease the administrative concerns.

This case sheds light on how critical and complex disability appeals can be. Not only are denied applicants up against the stringent requirements for approval, but they have to deal with concerns that their case will not be given adequate attention within a reasonable timeframe. As such, being adequately prepared for a first-time application for SSD or an appeal is critical for success.

Source: The Baltimore Sun, “Judges sue Social Security over ‘quotas’ on disability decisions,” Yvonne Wenger, April 28, 2013

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