President Donald Trump’s federal hiring freeze will exacerbate the backlog of cases waiting to be heard for Social Security Disability.
There are currently around 1,650 Administrative Judges hearing disability claims in the US. Even with this number, the average wait for an appeal to be processed as of May 2016 was 526 days, according to the Social Security Administration’s inspector general. There were 1.1 million people waiting on decisions at this level.
SSA wanted to increase the number of Judges to 1,900 to lower the processing time as the number of applicants increased, but the federal civilian employee hiring freeze will prevent this.
Trump’s Order does allow the Office of Personnel Management to grant exemptions. The order requires the Office of Management and Budget to develop a plan within 90 days for shrinking the workforce, and says the blanket freeze will expire once that plan is implemented.
SSA Commissioner said that he hopes Social Security officials will seek an exemption for appeals judges and their clerks, and that Trump’s personnel department would grant it.
One ALJ stated that many of the judges have been working extra uncompensated hours every day to try to get through the outstanding cases, some of which require reviewing 1,000 pages of medical records as well as experts’ assessments. If it were your case, you wouldn’t want the Judge rushing and potentially missing some important details.
This means that Americans out of work, waiting on Disability benefits to begin in order to cover some expenses and medical bills, will now have an even longer wait for a decision.
Please visit our website: www.socialsecuirtyjustice.com or contact one of our Bailey & Galyen offices for additional information.