Sunday, December 29, 2013

Disability Judges are being Reined In

The Social Security Administration, smarting from recent scandals, this weekend is set to tighten its grip on 1,500 administrative law judges to ensure that disability benefits are awarded consistently and to rein in fraud in the program. 
The agency is rewriting the job descriptions of its judicial corps, allowing officials more latitude to crack down on judges who are awarding disability benefits outside the norm.
Many judges have operated as if they were independent of the agency and awarded or denied benefits based on their own judgments. A few weeks ago, the SSA notified the judges of the changes. 
The job descriptions will no longer include the words "complete individual independence," and will also clarify that the judges are "subject to the supervision and management" of other agency officials, according to a draft reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.
Rep. James Lankford (R., Okla.) chairs an oversight
subcommittee that monitors Social Security. Associated Press
The changes are among a number of revisions the SSA has adopted in the wake of a several recent scandals, including the arrest of more than 70 people in Puerto Rico and a separate criminal investigation into a former judge in West Virginia. Both affairs raised questions in Congress about how much fraud might be in the disability adjudication system. 
The Social Security Disability Insurance program, funded by payroll taxes, pays monthly benefits—often until someone receives retirement benefits in their 60s—for people who can no longer work because of physical or mental health problems.
During the recent economic downturn, the program grew quickly and now has close to 11 million beneficiaries. It has grown so fast, in fact, that it is projected to exhaust the reserves in its trust fund by 2016, which could force all beneficiaries to see an immediate cut in their payments. 
In 2011, The Wall Street Journal reported a widespread disparity in the probability that certain judges would award benefits. Dozens of judges awarded benefits in more than 90% of their cases, while others were much less likely to find someone unable to work, denying benefits in more than 80% of their cases, data showed.
Read the Rest of the story HERE.

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1 comment:

BOSMAN said...

It's about Time!

Unless there is something in our Cheerios or the water we drink lately...These claims HAVE GOTTEN WAY OUT OF CONTROL

SAFEGUARDS and REVIEWS need to take place on an ON-GOING BASES (not an annual bases) to separate those who are 'truly' disabled from those who have developed a Work Phobia.