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Letters to the Editor

January 23, 2014

In Your Opinion: Social Security claims process flawed

The problems with the implementation of Obamacare have outraged members of Congress and dominated the media, but they pale in comparison with the Social Security Administration’s dysfunctional disability claims process.

The Social Security Administration has a policy of requiring their claims representatives to take Supplemental Security Income (SSI) claims from all applicants for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits (SSDI) — whether they were eligible or not.

There is no legitimate reason for taking a federal welfare claim from an individual who is clearly ineligible. They are denied immediately, and the only purpose of these bogus claims to reduce — on paper — the average processing time for initial disability claims. A bonafide SSDI claim takes about 100 days to process.

When an SSI claim is taken in conjunction with an SSDI claim, it results in a hold being placed on the release of any past due SSDI benefits until the local Social Security office tells the SSA payment center if any SSI payments were made. The purpose of the hold is to prevent claimants from being paid by both programs for the same time period.

And that’s where the system grinds to a halt. As a direct result of overloading the system with unnecessary claims the payment centers cannot process the release of past due benefits in a timely manner.

A 2011 report by the Social Security Administration Office of the Inspector General concluded that the average length of time that SSA withheld past due benefits was over 3.5 years, and often went unpaid for as long as 10 years after they were due. Read the full report here: http://tinyurl.com/ksuzq5l.

SSA officials are aware of the delays brought on by their indefensible bogus claims policy; they don’t care, and disabled beneficiaries suffer for it.

Walter F. Wouk

Summit

Wouk is a former Social Security Administration claims representative.

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