The waiting time for Social Security Disability hearings has increased dramatically. Congress did not approve a budget that would allow Social Security to handle the increase in applications and the agency can only hire one person for every three that leave at the hearing level. More applications are being filed each month that can be processed.
We want our clients to know that we are doing everything possible to get your hearing scheduled. Unfortunately, the Administrative Law Judges are not able to keep up with the amount of cases they have due to the staff reductions. In the Albany hearing office two of the six judges are retiring within the next few months! There are no plans to replace them! Obviously that will worsen the already unacceptable delays. One solution, using judges from the White Plains hearing office, will simply increase the delay in that office.
On a case by case basis, we are doing more to make sure that cases are fully developed before the first decision is made, avoiding the hearing delay if a favorable decision is made at that level. For those cases at the hearing level we are identifying and developing those cases that may be favorably decided without a hearing. If one of the judges agrees, many months can be shaved of the processing time.
We are working with our national organization to lobby Congress about this problem. The lack of concern the leaders in Congress have shown for people with disabilities has been a great disappointment.
We are sending you this letter so that you are aware of the problems that we face together. If you can, please write your United States Senators and Representatives and explain the hardship the delay is causing you. It is important that they understand the system is about people not just another government bureaucracy. Send me a copy to use in our efforts to change the system.
To find your elected representatives go to http://www.congress.org/congressorg/home/
We will continue to make every effort to have your claim decided favorably for you.