2016 SSA Changes:

Right now it takes a year or more to get your hearing before an Administrative Law Judge. (National time is 505 days, Ft. Worth is currently at 411 and Dallas is at 467). SSA is planning on hiring senior attorneys to review the cases that are awaiting a hearing and allow them to do brief, pre-hearing conferences in order to get the more obvious cases awarded quicker. This helps everyone because if there are less cases waiting on Judges to hear them, the wait time will decrease all across the board.

SSA is working on legislation which will limit gun ownership for some SS Disability beneficiaries. The thought being that if someone is not mentally competent of holding a job, then perhaps they should not own a firearm either.

SSA recognizes same sex marriages. If same sex marriage was legal when and where the marriage occurred, then it is a legal marriage for purposes of receiving benefits from your spouse.

Award rates are down:

Award rates have decreased steadily the past few years. At the hearing level, award rates have decreased 18% since 2008 from 63% to 45% currently in 2015. Award rates at the initial level have also decreased 4% over the same time period to 34% and awards at reconsideration are down 2% to 11% currently. Even the AC approval rate is down to 15%. (it was 25% in 2010).