Friday, June 1, 2007

700 Thousand Waiting...and Still Counting

The dismal state of affairs for the 733,000 Americans currently waiting for a Social Security disability hearing has garnered alot of news coverage in recent months, including this recent editorial in the Buffalo News, and debate on Capitol Hill. But headlines and debate don't always bring solutions and that seems to be the case here.

The new Social Security Commissioner, Michael Astrue, has testified before the Senate Finance Committee about the disability backlog nightmare. He told Senators he wants to fix the disability backlog on "his watch" and outlined his plan to do it. Social Security News blogged in detail about Astrue's testimony and it's well worth a read.

The average wait for a disability hearing is more than a year, 483 days. That's a disgrace. But while everyone can agree something needs to be done the real question this administration willing to pay for it? There are fewer administrative law judges hearing cases now than in 1997. Is it really a surprise that cutting SSA's budget and staffing has brought us here?

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