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The Washington Post
June 19, 2011

Progress on disability benefit backlog disputed
By Lisa Rein

Four-and-a-half years ago, the Social Security Administration set out to reduce a growing backlog in appeals from sick and disabled Americans who could no longer work but were denied disability benefits. A study concludes that despite these efforts and assertions by top agency officials that things have improved, the backlog has only grown in the last year — and a spike in new applications is threatening to swamp the system. The review by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC), an independent research organization at Syracuse University, found that 735,660 appeals will be pending in the current fiscal year, up from 705,367 in fiscal 2010. Applicants waiting for their appeals to be heard will wait 369 days on average, a big improvement from the peak of 514 days in 2008 but still more than a year, the report found. “The question is, is the agency achieving its stated goals?” said TRAC’s co-director, David Burnham. “The answer is no.” The review analyzed data provided by the Social Security agency, Burnham said.

Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, Syracuse University
Copyright 2011
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