Hiring Freeze Would Cause Increased Delays at SSA for Social Security Claims
Under the House of Representatives’ funding bill, the Social Security Administration (SSA) would receive $772 million less than the $11.1 billion requested by President Obama, and the Senate’s bill would allocate $582 million less for the agency.
A significant amount of hiring was already put on hold earlier this year in anticipation of funding cuts, and the Association of Administrative Law Judges (AALJ) has recently issued a warning regarding a hiring freeze and the impact it will have on already delayed appeals processes.
AALJ cites the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP), stating that it currently takes 540 days for individuals to receive a hearing on disputed cases. The project that number will increase should a higher freeze be implemented.
In fiscal 2016, 250 new administrative law judges were hired at SSA, but a freeze on hiring support staff has left many judges without the resources they need.
“When you don’t have enough staff or staff is spread so thin, it affects a judge's ability to do his or her job,” Marilyn Zahm, AALJ’s president, said. “Fewer decisions can go out the door.”
Even though the number of Social Security beneficiaries has increased by 12 percent under the Obama administration, SSA’s operating budget has decreased 10 percent since 2010. Additionally, more than 60 field offices and 500 mobile offices have been closed since 2010.
Posted in From the Hill