As Astoria Social Security disability attorneys, we were surprised to hear that the Social Security system is so overwhelmed with applications that some judges have admitted to approving applications just to keep up with the flow of cases.
The Social Security Administration claims that the agency’s administrative law judges are set to decide the outcome of 500 to 700 applications each year. According to the agency, this is a legal “productivity goal.” However, the judges’ union disagrees, claiming in the lawsuit that this is an illegal quota that puts extraordinary demand on the judges to decide more than two cases each workday.
Randall Frye, the president of the Association of Administrative Law Judges, stated that setting goals that are way too high causes judges to take the easy way out, which is to approve a claim. Denying a claim takes far longer and is more paperwork intensive.
The lawsuit was filed at a time when the disability program is already facing serious financial issues. With the filing of the lawsuit, questions have arisen about the integrity of the system; even more interesting, those questions have come from the people running it.
Alarming statistics show that the Social Security disability system is set to run out of money in 2016. When it does, the money collected in payroll taxes will only be able to cover 79 percent of the benefits, making it necessary to cut benefits automatically by 21 percent. In 1994, Congress helped the Social Security system by redirecting money from the retirement program to the disability program. This may not be an option now, as the retirement program is facing its own financial struggles.
With about 1,400 administrative law judges in the union, the lawsuit proves that the disability system is in crisis.