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SSA Staffing Rises, But Pending Hearings Reach One Million

2015 January 20
by Steve Perrigo

According to employment data just released by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM), the Social Security Administration (SSA) increased its personnel by 3.2 percent in the quarter ending September 30, 2014.  The Agency’s staffing levels rose from 62,651 to 64,684, a gain of 2,033 employees.  This marks the second straight quarter the Agency increased staffing, as they finished their fiscal year 2014 up 3.4 percent, a net increase of 2,141 employees. As we previously reported, additional Congressional funding provided the Agency with hiring authority for the first time in recent years. The Agency’s workforce remains down considerably from Dec. 2010, when it had 70,270 employees.

The number of administrative law judges (ALJs) increased from 1,420 to 1,433 during the most recent quarter, but remains down 8.5 percent from peaking at 1,566 in 2013.  Not surprisingly, processing times and pending backlogs at the hearing level are continuing to increase. The most recent quarterly data shows hearing processing times up almost three months (86 days) since 2012, while the pending backlog of hearings awaiting a decision is now over one million claims. ssa staff - 09-2014


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