As baby boomers reach their most disability-prone years, the SSA has seen its disability workload grow significantly in the last five years. In order to speed up and improve the quality of the disability determination process, the agency intends to ensure that individuals who are clearly disabled receive a decision within 20 calendar days of filing an application for benefits, reach an online filing rate of 25% for disability applications by 2012, regularly update the regulations to incorporate the most recent medical advances, and develop a common case processing system for all of the individual state disability determination services.
The SSA has already begun to speed up determinations for those clearly disabled with the Quick Disability Determination (QDD) initiative. Under this program, approximately three percent of all new applications are identified for the QDD process. It takes the SSA six to eight days to favorably decide over 965 of them. Using computer models, the agency expects to increase the percentage of the types of cases identified for QDD. A second initiative, Compassionate Allowances, also allows the SSA to quickly identify individuals who are clearly disabled by the nature of their disease or condition. With both initiatives, the agency expects to fast track six to nine percent of initial disability applications by 2012. Full article here: