SSA: Dealing with a Complex Bureaucracy
The primary problem in dealing with the SSA (Social Security Administration) is the vast size of it. It is the employer to over 57,000 individuals. The ODAR (SSA Office of Disability Adjudication and Review) alone is home to roughly 8,000 employees. Its 34 administrative appeals judges and roughly 1,300 administrative law judges are among them.
All across the nation, over 14,000 state agency employees make determinations for disability before administrative law judges do in hearings. As you might assume, it’s extremely difficult for lawyers to pinpoint a person to contact over a claimant’s conflict. Even once they find out who to contact, the next hurdle is figuring how to contact them. Doing this by yourself, without the help of a lawyer, can be a nightmare.
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The complexity of SSA’s two most complicated programs are what make it such a problem to deal with. These programs are SSI and Social Security disability. When anything changes with either program, many employees are not notified by the changes. As you would assume, this creates problems.
In order to demonstrate how complex and confusing the SSA and its programs can be, its toll free number was dialed and tested for accuracy. 25% of the questions asked to representatives were answered incorrectly. It was discovered that representatives were most helpful and correct in answering questions about their retirement program rather than disability benefits.
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SSA has attempted to design routines for navigating complicated decisions. This has failed to work for determining disability without a proper administrative law judge hearing. This is mainly due to medical-vocational issues being complex and state agencies not being properly equipped to make decisions. Decisions made by state agencies are generally inaccurate and poor. However, countless SSA employees are unaware of this.
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There are also problems with low-level SSA employees not following protocols closely, causing further problems for both claimants and lawyers.
If you’re in the dark about navigating the SSA process, don’t stay in the dark any longer. Contact us today for information and help with one of the most complex administrations in the nation.