Staffing Issues to Blame for High Wait Times in New York and Atlanta Regions

Posted May 11, 2018 by Premier Disability Services, LLC®

The Office of the Inspector General (OIG) recently released a report detailing their findings on what factors are causing an increase in processing times for hearing offices in the New York and Atlanta Regions.  Wait times at the hearing level have become a significant problem for Social Security Disability claimants.  To put this in perspective, there were over 1.1 million cases awaiting a hearing at the end of Fiscal Year 2016.  Further, the average wait time had ballooned to 540 days on average.  For FY 2016, the 13 offices with the highest average wait time were in either the New York or Atlanta Regions.

The OIG’s report concluded that low morale, issues with telework, claimant representatives, and the quality of the support staff’s work were all common factors in the offices with high average wait times.  Additional factors included administrative law judge performance issues, difficulty with scheduling expert witnesses, and a large number of supplemental hearings/postponements.  Based on their findings, the OIG recommended that the Social Security Administration work with the New York and Atlanta Regional Offices and their hearing offices to address the issues.  The Social Security Administration has agreed with the recommendation.

For our clients, the hearing wait time is a significant challenge that causes a large financial strain on them and their families.  We feel it is a positive step for SSA to agree with the OIG’s recommendation so that they can begin addressing this issue in the New York and Atlanta Regions.

For the full report from the OIG, click the link below.

By: Devon Brady of Premier Disability Services, LLC®