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Report details Social Security Administration's quality controls

Readers of this blog have heard several accounts of the Social Security Administration’s backlog in processing applications for Social Security disability insurance payments. The delays affect each level of administrative review, from initial applications through requests for reconsideration or hearings before administrative law judges.

Although reducing delays might generally be regarded as a step in the right direction, a recent article suggests that the improvement in processing speed came at the price of quality. Specifically, a bipartisan report suggests that quality control measures may have been bypassed for the sake of speedy decisions, resulting in payments on potentially fraudulent claims.

If the report does result in tightened oversight, a Social Security disability insurance attorney might advise preparing the best possible application on the first effort. Such work probably won’t be wasted, as Medicare and Medicaid eligibility requirements are often very similar to SSDI benefits. At a minimum, receiving a disability eligibility status with the SSA can only help an individual’s chances at obtaining additional disability benefits from other sources.

Given the high denial rate of initial claims, applicants would be well advised to include substantial evidence in their initial SSDI application. The evidence may also prove helpful even after the filing, in follow-up with the assigned case manager or in responding to additional requests for medical records. Details from the case file may also be needed in processing benefits or medical insurance.

If this process sounds overwhelming to applicants, rest assured that a disability benefits attorney has likely been through it many times, and may have strategies to suggest. 

Source:, “Senate Panel Exposes Fraud in Social Security Disability Program,” Charles S. Clark, Oct. 7, 2013

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