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Investigation Finds Intentional Social Security Disability Case Delays

Statement

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

An investigation requested by Ways and Means Committee Republicans and conducted by the Social Security Administration (SSA) Office of Inspector General (OIG) has found that agency employees intentionally delayed deciding thousands of disability claims in order to boost their own productivity results. The issue first surfaced in a Wall Street Journal report about a quirk in the fiscal year (FY) 2011 calendar affecting the processing of claims. SSA employees' inaction was reportedly intended to boost managers' FY2012 performance numbers with no impact on their FY2011 numbers -- raising questions about whether disability benefits were postponed in an effort to secure performance bonuses for the managers. The SSA OIG report specifically looked at hearing offices in Alabama, Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Ohio, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and West Virginia.

Chairman Dave Camp (R-MI) stated : "It's unconscionable and an abuse of taxpayer dollars for Social Security employees to intentionally delay claims to manipulate their own performance statistics. This report raises serious concerns about the impacts of Social Security's management policies on the people it serves."

Social Security Subcommittee Chairman Sam Johnson (R-TX) commented : "Making folks wait an extra week for a decision on their appeal in order to manipulate personal performance results is just plain wrong. These government workers put themselves before the public they are supposed to serve. Social Security needs to fix this problem now."

Human Resources Subcommittee Chairman Geoff Davis (R-KY) added : "Management data is an important tool for any organization, especially one as large as Social Security. Keeping track of how disability cases are moving through the system should encourage employees to better serve the public, not to hold up cases so they can look good. Social Security needs to take a hard look at its policies to ensure they are consistently using taxpayer dollars in a responsible manner."

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