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Social Security Disability: Disappointing Results From SSA's Efforts to Improve the Disability Claims Process Warrant Immediate Attention
GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE WASHINGTON DC
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Two more initiatives the Hearings Process Improvement and the Appeals Council Process Improvement initiatives change the processes for handling appeals of claims denied by the DDS. Under the current process, if the DDS denies a claim, the claimant can request a hearing before an administrative law judge ALJ at an SSA hearings office. If the claim is denied at this hearing, the claimant may appeal to the next and final administrative review level in SSA, the Appeals Council. Both initiatives are designed to speed the decisions made by each of these units by introducing more efficient ways to handle appeals and to thereby reduce their backlogs of appealed claims. The fifth initiative, Quality Assurance, seeks to develop an approach to improve the method SSA uses to ensure the accuracy of its disability decisions. Quality Assurance affects the entire disability process.
APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE