Reduce Disability Backlogs and Improve Decisional Quality

SSA is facing a considerable increase in initial and reconsideration disability claims, resulting in a significant backlog. The Agency received about 2.6 million initial claims and about 648,000 reconsideration claims in Fiscal Year (FY) 2016. At the end of FY2016, SSA had over 568,000 initial disability claims pending.

Also, SSA has experienced a growing hearings backlog and increasing case processing times in recent years, causing the public to wait longer for decisions on appeals of earlier disability decisions. SSA’s pending hearings backlog grew from about 705,000 cases at the end of FY2010 to approximately 1.1 million cases at the end of FY2016. Average processing time on hearings has also increased from 426 days at the end of FY2010 to 543 days at the end of FY2016.