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Government Shutdown Continuing to Impact Social Security Disability Claims

Posted on February 15, 2016 by Disability Help Group

The Social Security Administration (SSA) continues to monitor and adjust its contingency plan in light of the ongoing government shutdown. While its website is only updated when absolutely necessary, it has been vigilant in communicating core information to citizens in need of services.

For disabled Americans currently pursuing a disability claim or awaiting an appeal on an existing claim, the suspension or decrease in some services may impact existing claims. For example, the Operations Field Offices are not processing earnings record corrections and updates, which can delay an SSDI benefit application if there is a discrepancy in the claimant’s work credits.

Aside from the two main functions of the Offices of Disability and Adjudicative Review (ODAR) (hearing and deciding disability cases) most of the additional activities are suspended during the shutdown. The suspended activities include:

  • screening cases for On-the-Record decisions;
  • scheduling hearings;
  • hearings appeals;
  • docketing and tracking new cases;
  • drafting relevant notices for claimants;
  • preparing electronic records for claimants and representatives;
  • identifying missing evidence and developing the record;
  • exhibiting case files for Administrative Law Judges;
  • quality assurance review activities;
  • adding new medical and vocational experts to blanket purchase agreements;
  • decision-writing;
  • processing bias complaints from claimants and representatives;
  • responding to congressional inquiries regarding support for casework on constituent hearings and appeals;
  • conducting all activities dependent on Operations support, including enrollment of appointed representatives for eFolder access;
  • responding to FOIA requests and public inquiries; and
  • providing training and IT support or enhancements for hearing offices.

Assistance from a Social Security Disability representative

While many of the SSA’s services are suspended, limited, or difficult to access during the government shutdown, Disability Help Group continues to operate at full power. We are here to help answer your questions about government disability benefits during this time, and continue to provide our clients with updates on their existing claims. Contact us today – 1-(800)-800-3332.