Trump’s Hiring Freeze Likely to Affect Boston Disability Cases

Whenever a new party takes over the White House, it is not uncommon for there to be a hiring freeze with respect to federal employees.  Traditionally, this is a relatively short-term measure designed to give the new administration time to decide what its priorities will be and how those priorities will shape the composition of the various federal agencies.

cashHowever, regardless of what your feelings are about President Donald J. Trump, this recent hiring does not appear to be business as usual.  The reason for this is because Mr. Trump has promised to drastically reduce the size of government and slash the federal work force.  It seems the recent hiring freeze rolled out in an executive order may be in place for quite some time to come.According to a recent news article from Bloomberg, this may not be a welcomed development for those who are trying to obtain Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits from the United States Social Security Administration (SSA).  As it stands now, the national average backlog has gotten so bad that people who are waiting for benefits will likely have to wait more than 526 days before SSA renders a final decision on their claim for Social Security disability benefits.

While there are many reasons for this backlog, one of the major reasons is that there not enough staff members working at SSA, including administrative law judges who are required to preside over benefits hearings once a claimant has already filed an initial application and that application was denied. Once the initial application is denied, the claimant can file again in a process known as reconsideration.  Chances are far better than average that the claimant’s initial application will be denied by SSA, as will the written request for reconsideration. This will often have very little to do with whether the claimant is actually disabled and otherwise qualified for benefits due to an ongoing desire to save money by paying out less in benefits than they are collecting through taxing employee paychecks.

However, since this is complex problem, and the system is very much set up in such a way as to seriously put the unrepresented claimant in a disadvantaged position, the best thing you can do is seek a consultation with an experienced Boston Social Security Disability Insurance lawyer. This same lawyer should be able to assist you if you are applying for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) for yourself or, more likely, a family member such as a child or elderly parent.

There are currently 1,650 ALJs working for the SSA at their various Office of Disability Adjudication and Review locations around the country.  While this may seem like a lot, it is far less than are actually required to make serious progress on this claims backlog, and the agency was hoping to be able to hire more judges, so they could make quicker work of it.   Unfortunately, for the many claimants in desperate need of benefits, it does not seem that there will be much progress in shortening the wait any time in the near future.

If you or a loved one is seeking Social Security Disability Insurance in Boston, call for a free and confidential appointment at (617) 777-7777.

Additional Resources:

Trump’s Hiring Freeze May Worsen 526-Day Disability Case Backlog, January 27, 2017,by Josh Eidelson, Bloomberg

More Bog Entries:

Social Security Disability Judges Allegedly Used Racial and Sexual Terms on Claimants’ Applications, July 27, 2016, Boston SSDI Lawyer Blog

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