Recession Adding to Social Security Backlogs

Government Executive reports today: The economic downturn, inadequate funding and red tape are at the core of an increasing backlog of Social Security disability cases, panelists said during a roundtable discussion in Washington on Thursday.
The government has tried for years to reduce the number of cases awaiting review from administrative law judges, but the recession is a significant setback, said Alan Cohen, senior budget adviser for the Senate Finance Committee.
“Initial claims are going to skyrocket in 2010,” he said during the forum, organized by the Association of Administration Law Judges. “The tsunami hasn’t hit the administrative law judges here.”
At issue are cases where a claim has been rejected at the state level and is sent to Social Security Administration ALJs. Currently, there are about 750,000 cases pending, according to Cohen. SSA has set a goal of reducing the pile of pending cases to 466,000 by 2013 — a step SSA Commissioner Michael Astrue has told lawmakers would decrease average processing times from 500 to 270 days. See article here: