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Negative Trends Emerge in SSA Hearing Processing Times and Backlogs

2013 November 2
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by Steve Perrigo

Fiscal year 2013 data from the Social Security Administration shows the agency reversed progress made over the previous four years in reducing hearing processing times. It now takes an average of 382 days to process a hearing request, up 29 days from 2012.

National_Hearing_APT_FY2008-FY2013_4th_QtrThe hearing backlog also increased 3.8 percent from 2012 to 2013. As of September 30, 2013, pending hearings awaiting a final decision totaled 847,984, compared to 816,575 the previous year.

Age_Distribution_Pending_Hearings_FY2008-FY2013_4th_Qtr

According to the Office of Personnel Management’s website, the number of administrative law judges is down slightly from historic highs.

ALJs

These trends are certainly not encouraging to disabled individuals awaiting their day in court to have their case heard by an administrative law judge. Hopefully, the current federal budget negotiations will yield adequate resources to the agency allowing for additional staffing and the resumption of progress on reducing hearing processing times and pending backlogs.

 

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