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SSA workloads affect disability claimants

In a report released this month, the U.S. Government Accountability Office again faulted the Social Security Administration for the way in which it conducts business, particularly with regard to Social Security Disability Insurance benefits. This month's report was issued on the heels of a report from earlier this year that found wildly inconsistent results in hearings involving similar claims. The new findings note the challenges that the SSA must overcome to deliver the levels of service required to meet the needs of disability claimants.

When it comes to Social Security Disability, SSA's challenges stem largely from one source: Baby Boomers. As more of the 80 million Baby Boomers reach the ages that are most disability-prone or retire, they put a tremendous strain on SSA resources that could otherwise be used to improve infrastructure, technology and service delivery. What's more, thousands of SSA employees are Baby Boomers themselves. The agency anticipates that more than 20,000 employees will retire by the end of the 2022 fiscal year. With them will go institutional knowledge, as well as leadership, creating additional management challenges for the SSA.

Another challenge identified in the March report is the slow adoption of reliable technology. Some applications are available online instead of in person, but issues with the online processes have presented challenges for claimants. Yet, the GAO found that the agency had failed to maintain data on the types of problems that online applicants have experienced.

The assistance of an experienced Social Security Disability attorney can help applicants navigate the maze of the SSD claims process. The GAO has also found that representation increases claimants' odds of success at hearings before SSA administrative law judges.

Source: U.S. Government Accountability Office, "Social Security Administration: Continuing Leadership Focus Needed to Modernize How SSA Does Business," March 7, 2018

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