We issued this report to determine whether Agency managers maintained appropriate oversight of the workload at the Dover, Delaware, Hearing Office as well as personnel processing that workload.
Administrative law judges (ALJ) in the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) Office of Disability Adjudication and Review (ODAR) conduct hearings on appealed claims. ODAR managers provide necessary guidance and oversight of this workload.
During Fiscal Years (FY) 2011 to 2014, the Dover Hearing Office experienced worsening average processing times (APT) on hearing cases (a 49-percent increase) as well as a 25-percent decline in ALJ productivity.
In October 2014, SSA management began receiving letters alleging an ALJ in the Dover Hearing Office was issuing poor quality decisions. The letters stated the ALJ was not deciding disability cases consistent with Agency policy and procedures. Similar letter were sent to the Congress and Office of the Inspector General.