December 21st, 2011|
The Administrative Conference of the United States, which studies government policy in Washington and is one of the most respected institutions on matters of administrative law, will undertake the review. A draft of the study is due in August 2012 and the final recommendations are to be released in November 2012. The recommendations could serve as a blueprint for changes by either the SSA or Congress.
“It’s healthy, when something appears not to be ideal, to get some fresh eyes to see if there can be improvements,” said Harold Krent, the lead researcher for the project.
This year, the Wall Street Journal identified significant inconsistencies in the process for awarding disability benefits.
One such inconsistency concerns a judge, in Houston, Texas, who awarded benefits in 13 percent of his cases last year, while another judge, in Kingsport, Tennessee, awarded benefits in 99 percent of his decisions. The average approval rate is around 60 percent.
The administrative-law judges, who work for the SSA, weigh appeals of applicant who have been twice denied before at the state level.
The disparity between how many Social Security Disability benefits clients are awarded and how much time judges spend in hearings will be part of the study’s review.