We issued this report to review the Office of Disability Adjudication and Review’s (ODAR) Compassionate And REsponsive Service (CARES) plan in terms of (1) content, (2) lessons learned from earlier initiatives, (3) communication with key parties, and (4) plans for measurement and monitoring.
In January 2016, ODAR issued the CARES plan, which outlined 21 initiatives to address the growing number of pending hearings and increasing wait times. According to the CARES plan, ODAR’s goal is to reach an average processing time (APT) of 270 days by the end of Fiscal Year 2020. ODAR also expects the plan will help serve as a foundation to explore potential future initiatives as the Agency continues identifying ways to better serve the public.
In our November 2015 Fiscal Year 2015 Inspector General Statement on the Agency’s Major Management and Performance Challenges, we stated reducing the hearings backlog and preventing its recurrence remains an Agency challenge. As of May 2016, approximately 1.1 million people were awaiting a hearing decision, and APT was 526 days.