The Single Most Important
Improvement to the Social Security Disability Claims Process is Coming
By Karl Kazmierczak
November 15, 2007
Recently, I was present at a meeting of the SSA designers of a
program that would allow lawyers and claimants to access their Social
Security Disability file through the internet. In my opinion, when this
program is implemented it will be the greatest improvement in the Social
Security process ever.
What this means for lawyers and claimants is that they will be
able to access the SSA file instantly. There are several advantages to
this over the old system of doing things.
First, as soon as I take on a client I will be able to access the
file and see what SSA has in the file and what I think is missing from
the file. The way it is now it can be extremely difficult to get this
information which leads to delays in developing the file. This will also
save the client money because a claimant will only have to try and get
records that are missing from the file which will cut down on having to
pay for records that are already in the file.
Second, a lawyer can write briefs to SSA at any stage in the process
and be able to point to specific exhibits in the file that support
disability. That brief can be submitted directly into the file.
Third, SSA employees should need to spend less time developing the
file since lawyers with direct access to the file will be able to better
help in that development.
Fourth, a lawyer will be able to know were in the process a claim is
at a moments notice instead of having to send numerous letters to SSA to
check the status of a case.
Fifth, the electronic system of access to the file and being able to
submit evidence directly into to the file will eliminate the mail
processing time. This might not seem like much but try to imagine the
hundreds of thousands of claims and the amount of mail associated with
each of those claims. Each piece of mail has to be opened and scanned in
to the appropriate file. All those hours of processing time and money
spent on postage will be eliminated both for the law offices and SSA.
Lastly, because of the huge case load SSA employee’s deal with they
often miss or have not started reviewing files that are really strong
and deserve a quick favorable decision. With direct access to the file a
lawyer will be able to point this out to the decision makers at SSA to
get a faster decision. I strongly believe this new program will decrease
processing time at every stage of the process. It will also save money
for SSA, lawyers and claimants. Most importantly it will lead to better
developed files and therefore, better decisions.
For more information on related topics see my Free Social Security