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Social Security Disability Appeals Backlog in Baltimore

The size of the backlog of Social Security Disability (SSD) claims has been making news recently, as have reports about how long it takes to obtain a decision from the Social Security Administration (SSA). Some offices have longer wait times, others have bigger backlogs. One office that has a poor track record for both is the Baltimore, Maryland, SSA office. At the end of May 2014, there were 11,652 SSD cases pending in Baltimore, an increase of 25 percent from 2012. Claimants in Baltimore are waiting an average of 17 months to receive a decision on their appeals. This is apparently what the Baltimore Sun called the "third-worst" office in the United States.

In response to this situation, the SSA is transferring 15 percent of its disability appeals cases to another office, this one in Virginia. About 1,800 cases will be transferred to Virginia from the Central Maryland office, where a different set of administrative law judges will hear the appeals.

The decision to transfer some appeals to another office came just weeks after a member of the House of Representatives from Maryland, C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger publically demanded that the Baltimore office explain why its record is so much worse than most other offices in the United States. Rep. Ruppersberger has yet to receive an answer to his question about the reason for the poor performance of the Baltimore-area office in the area of appeals.

Approximately 1,000 of the appeals with the longest delay will go to Roanoke, Virginia, with the remainder being transferred to Norfolk.

The Baltimore office had reduced its backlog in the period 20009 to 2011. However, budget cuts over the past three years have wiped out the previous gains. Another problem appears to be the speed at which the SSA can replace retiring judges. A third issue appears to be the lack of leadership in the agency: There is currently no head of the SSA and it is not clear when one will be appointed, given the almost-certain confirmation battle that will occur whoever the President nominates.

It appears that whether you live in Baltimore or elsewhere, obtaining a quick decision on an appeal or even an initial claim is not going to be easy or speedy. However, you can make sure that your case is well-developed and documented to minimize delays. That's where we come in. We are Binder & Binder®, America 's most successful Social Security Disability advocates. Whatever your situation and wherever you live, give us a call and learn how we can help you navigate the SSD claims and appeals process.

Source: Baltimore Sun, "SSA transfers disability appeals cases to cut backlog," June 13, 2014.

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