The objective of our report is to determine whether Agency managers were taking the necessary steps to improve the Miami, Florida, Hearing Office’s workload performance.
As we noted in our November 2015 report, Fiscal Year 2015 Inspector General Statement on the Agency’s Major Management and Performance Challenges, improving the responsiveness and oversight of the hearings process remains an Agency challenge. The pending hearings backlog has increased annually since Fiscal Year (FY) 2010, standing at more than 1 million cases at the end of FY 2015. The average processing time (APT) for hearing cases has also increased since FY 2012, rising to 480 days by the end of FY 2015. The Miami Hearing Office’s APT rose to 675 days in FY 2015.
Over the last 5 FYs, Miami Hearing Office receipts have outpaced hearing office dispositions 4 of 5 years even with outside assistance, resulting in an increase in pending claims and worsening timeliness. As of the date of our review, the pending hearings per administrative law judge (ALJ) had increased 79 percent from FY 2011 levels, while the ALJs were 80 percent as productive as the average ALJ in FY 2015.