OIG Investigates Wait Times for State Agencies

Posted May 21, 2015 by Premier Disability Services, LLC® The Office of the Inspector General released a report on May 8, 2015 detailing their findings from an analysis of 51 offices of the State Disability Determination Services (DDS) during fiscal year 2013. In this report, the OIG analyzed the average claims processing times at these 51 DDSs for both Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). According to their findings, 44 of the 51 offices had processing times that ranged from 60 to 120 days for a determination. There were 7 offices that fell outside of this range. Florida and Idaho’s DDS offices had shorter processing times while California, Virginia, Nevada, Colorado, and Hawaii’s offices took longer to process claims.

For the offices that fell on the longer end of the spectrum in terms of processing times, the OIG was able to provide some correlation between the longer wait times and specific factors. For example, Colorado is one state that typically exceeds the 60 to 120 day processing time. Notably, 60 percent of the disability examiners in the Colorado DDS Office had processing times of more than twice the national median. The DDS examiner is the person who is in charge of building the medical portion of a claim to determine whether that person is disabled. Delays on the part of the disability examiner would serve to delay the total processing time of a claim. This was certainly a major factor in the significant wait times for the Colorado DDS Office. Further, some office wait times were impacted by state hiring freezes or furloughs, changes to workload balancing, and variable business processes.

This report is significant because one of the main concerns we hear from our clients is that their claim is taking too long. Pursuant to this report, most claimants should expect their claim to take 2-4 months before they receive an initial decision. We recognize the difficulty these wait times can cause for claimants. Given the significant processing times, it is important to have representation helping you to navigate the process and avoid making mistakes that cause delays for your claim.

If you are applying for benefits or considering doing so, please contact our office for a free evaluation of your claim.

**For the full version of this report, visit http://oig.ssa.gov/audits-and-investigations/audit-reports/2014-10–2015-09

By: Thomas A. Klint of Premier Disability Services, LLC®