As anyone in Portland or anyone else who receives Social Security disability benefits can tell you, being approved for benefits can be an exhausting process. Many claims are initially denied and require applicants to appeal the decision. Few people who are not attorneys have the time, expertise and energy to handle such a process that has so much riding on it.
This need for expert help is underscored by the revelation of a lawsuit filed by Social Security administrative law judges. They say they are overworked: What their bosses deem a productivity goal — and what the judges allege is an illegal quota — means they have to decide more than two cases per workday on average.
In order to meet these goals, the judges say their ability to decide on the validity of claims is compromised. When an administrative law judge denies benefits to an applicant, the judge must generate a lengthy explanation of the denial — which can run more than a dozen pages. For an approval, however, the paperwork required is only a few pages — thus making it more time-efficient to approve a claim.
Of course, this costs the government money — a precious resource, especially for a program that is quickly running out of money because of the dearth of people in the system. This also makes it tougher on the people who legitimately need the benefits because of their disability. These people often have no other resources available to them due to their disability. An experienced Social Security disability attorney can help to guide a client through the process.
Source: Associated Press, “Judges’ lawsuit: Disability system ‘in crisis’,” Stephen Ohlemacher, April 19, 2013