Reduce Disability Backlogs and Improve Decisional Quality

Audit By Issue Slug: 

Administrative Law Judge Allowance Rates, Quality, and Length of Service

Monday, September 18, 2017

Our objective was to analyze Fiscal Year (FY) 2015 allowance and agree rates in relation to an administrative law judge’s (ALJ) length of service.

The ALJ decisional allowance rate has fluctuated from a high of 75.2 percent in FY 1994 to a low of 53.5 percent in FY 2015. The 53.5-percent decisional average allowance rate in FY 2015 was the lowest rate in 23 years.

Mon, 09/18/2017

Factors Related to Decreased Administrative Law Judge Productivity

Monday, September 11, 2017

Our objective was to examine the factors that have led to a decrease in administrative law judge (ALJ) productivity.

The Office of Disability Adjudication and Review (ODAR) administers the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) disability hearings and appeals program. ALJs issue decisions at hearing offices nationwide. To assist the ALJs, hearing offices employ decision writers who draft and write ALJ decisions and support staff who prepare and schedule cases.

Mon, 09/11/2017

Beneficiaries Who Worked After Their Disability Onset Dates and Before Favorable Decisions

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

We issued this report to determine whether the Social Security Administration (SSA) appropriately addressed Old-Age, Survivors and Disability Insurance (OASDI) claimants’ earnings after their disability onset dates and before favorable hearing decisions.

Tue, 07/18/2017

Administrative Law Judges from Our February 2012 Report Who Had the Highest and Lowest Allowance Rates

Thursday, June 22, 2017

We issued this report to review the status of the 24 administrative law judges (ALJ) we discussed in our February 2012 Congressional Response Report in terms of allowance rates and productivity. We also identified the ALJs who had the highest and lowest allowance rates in Fiscal Year (FY) 2016 and described the Agency’s process for monitoring these ALJs.

Thu, 06/22/2017

Congressional Response Report: Reasons for Hearing-related Delays

Friday, June 2, 2017

On November 17, 2016, we received a letter from the Chairman of the Subcommittee on Social Security, House Ways and Means Committee, asking how claimants who fail to appear or postpone scheduled hearings affected SSA’s hearings backlog. The Chairman had seven specific questions. The Chairman also noted that claimants who fail to appear or postpone their scheduled hearings without good reason not only delay the processing of their own cases, they use scarce resources. As of March 2017, about 1.1 million claimants were awaiting a hearing decision.

Fri, 06/02/2017

Statutory Benefit Continuation During the Appeals Process for Medical Cessations

Thursday, May 11, 2017

We issued this report to evaluate the financial impact on the Disability Insurance (DI) Trust Fund and the General Fund of the U.S. Treasury when individuals continued receiving benefit payments during appeals of medical cessation determinations that administrative law judges (ALJ) upheld.

Thu, 05/11/2017

Oversight of Administrative Law Judge Decisional Quality

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

A claimant can appeal an administrative law judge's (ALJ) decision to deny or dismiss a disability case. Claimants file these appeals through a request for review to SSA’s Appeals Council (AC) in the Office of Disability Adjudication and Review (ODAR). If the AC grants a review of the case, it will issue a fully favorable, partially favorable, or unfavorable decision; or it may remand the case to an ALJ. If the AC does not grant a case review, the earlier decision remains unchanged.

Tue, 03/14/2017

Congressional Response Report: Disability Applications Denied Because of Claimants’ Ability to Work

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

We issued this report to gather specific information on claimants who were denied Disability Insurance (DI) benefits or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments because of their ability to work.

Tue, 03/07/2017

Pre-effectuation Reviews of Favorable Hearing Decisions

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Our objective was to determine whether the (1) Office of Disability Adjudication and Review timely processed its pre-effectuation reviews (PER) of favorable hearing decisions and (2) Office of Operations appropriately terminated benefits for claimants whose cases were denied or dismissed in the process. We also reviewed the costs and benefits of conducting the PERs.

Tue, 02/07/2017