The Obama Administration has committed to helping Americans in need by allocating more of the Nation’s budget to the preservation and improvement of the Social Security disability insurance approval process. In response to increased applications and a backlog of claims, SSA has committed to increasing their processing capacities in a number of ways.
Extended Service Team (EST) are new centralized units to assist with hearing backlog in areas that experienced increased applications. These units have reduced the hearings backlog and improved processing times at some of the hardest-hit hearing offices.
In FY 2010, SSA plans to place 280 new employees in four States (Virginia, Arkansas, Oklahoma , and Mississippi ) to help staff the teams that will be able to quickly take cases from the hardest hit States.
DDS Federal Units, created in each of the ten regions are assisting DDS in processing cases. In FY 2010, SSA plans to provide 237 additional hires in these units. The increases at the DDA level also include more medical consultants in order to prevent expensive and much dreaded consultative examinations.
Virtual Screening Units (VSUs) have been created with senior attorneys reviewing claims for potential awards. SSA believes that the new screening methodology and electronic folders will identify about 14,600 on-the-record, fully favorable awards this year without a hearing.
Disability Group, Inc. is committed to matching SSA efforts and taking full advantage of the processes that will assist clients in getting a speedy award. We actively use the electronic file systems, and carefully screen our caseloads for cases that have a chance of being awarded by the VSU. In 2009, our commitment resulted in 71% of our cases being awarded without the need for a hearing!