Some applicants for Social Security Disability Insurance may experience significant delays in receiving a review of their claim as the National Association of Disability Examiners (NADE) concedes that it will have to start doing "less with less" as its budget and staff continue to be cut.
Tom Ward, the president of the NADE, the organization of the professionals who make determinations on Social Security disability claims at the initial level and the first level of appeal, said in the group's summer 2012 newsletter that the group's funding this year is almost $400 million less than funding for 2010, though fixed costs and workloads continued to increase. He added that the group lost over 4,000 employees in 2011 and expects to lose over 3,000 more this year that will not be replaced.
"We simply do not have enough staff to complete all of the work for which we are responsible, and we made strategic decisions about the areas in which we must do less with less," Ward said in the newsletter. "Simply stated, there are not enough trained professionals to handle the number of customers coming through the door, through the internet, or wanting service over the phone."
Ward said that he and other executive members of the group met with congressional representatives to discuss the problem and advocate for increased funding.
"We explained how long it takes to hire, train, and mentor new (disability) examiners to have any level of significant productivity," he said. "We explained that no matter how carefully we interview perspective new examiners that a certain percentage will not make it through the training and probationary period because they will see how difficult and demanding this work is."
Ward said that higher backlogs would be expected since there were "tens of thousands of new applications with not enough trained professionals to process them."
North Carolina Social Security Disability Lawyers
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