Saturday, December 15, 2007

Social Security Disability and Political Goobledygook

A post on Attorney Charles Halls' blog references a press release issued by the Obama campaign. Hall focuses in on certain language used in the release, indicating that Obama would, as President...

"Streamline the current application and appeals processes to reduce the unacceptable delays experienced by individuals applying for Social Security disability benefits"

Statements like this are pure goobledygook and meaningless. I hate to sound like a former cog of the disability process, but the process is basically the process:

1. An individual who seeks to file for disability contacts the social security administration (usually by calling or visiting a local office).

2. A disability interview is conducted and an application for disabilityis taken by a claims rep (the individuals who take disability and retirement claims at field offices).

3. The claim is then forwarded to a state-level agency where it is assigned to an examiner. This is the individual who gathers the claimant's medical records and, once they arrive, renders a decision on a social security disability claim.

4. If the claim is denied, the claimant is notified and given 60 days plus five additional mailing days to file an appeal.

What aspect of the process would be streamlined? There really isn't room for "streamlining", per se. Interviews take a certain amount of time to conduct, claimants tend to take a certain amount of time to complete forms, examiners who request records typically are forced to sit and wait until the records arrive, etc, etc.

As I said, the process is the process. And, essentially, it is a good process.

Where the system fails is in this aspect: the social security administration does not have enough workers to do the job. And that is due to persistent shortfalls in funding. Who provides funding? The Congress of the United States.

There is no need for streamlining. There is, however, a need for Senators and Congressman to fulfill their responsibilities to their constituents.

Return to the Social Security Disability SSI Benefits Blog