Social Security disability claims backlogged

The Social Security Administration is so overwhelmed by disability claims that some officials are awarding benefits without adequately reviewing applications, congressional investigators say in a new report, according to The Washington Post.

The report said that in more than a quarter of the cases reviewed by congressional staff, decisions to award benefits “failed to properly address insufficient, contradictory or incomplete evidence.”

“The administrative law judges are not looking at the cases because the pressure from Social Security is to get the cases out,” said the top Republican on the subcommittee. “I think you could flip a coin for anybody that came before the Social Security commission for disability and get it right just as often as the [judges] do.”

A Social Security spokesman said, “We share the subcommittee’s concern that a small number of judges have failed our expectations with regard to a balanced application of the law, proper documentation, proper hearings and proper judicial conduct. We have undertaken a vigorous set of quality initiatives since the time most of these cases were filed about five years ago, and data indicates that we have made substantial progress.”

An increase of more than 23 percent in the past five years, about 11 million people receive disability benefits from Social Security. Benefits average less than $1,000 a month.

If you or someone you know needs help with a disability claim, contact a Social Security disability attorney at Fleschner, Stark, Tanoos & Newlin.

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