Following a Dayton Daily News report on delays at Dayton's Social Security Administration (SSA) office, representatives from U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown's (D-OH) office met SSA officials to urge SSA to reduce the backlog and improve service for Miami Valley workers and families.
"Although the Dayton office has made substantial progress in cutting wait times this year, more needs to be done to serve Ohioans efficiently and effectively," Brown said. "Delays in processing claims and appeals stretch families' budgets and can make medical conditions worse. It's critical that Ohio's offices are adequately-staffed and that the application process is streamlined to improve service and ensure timely and accurate decisions.
"My office has worked closely with the Social Security Administration to ensure that Ohioans receive the benefits they deserve and I look forward to working with them to tackle this critical problem," Brown continued.
As the Dayton Daily News noted, Dayton's hearing office has cut back wait times by nearly 200 days since 2010, but the office is still the slowest office in Ohio in processing claims. According to the report, more than 407,000 Ohioans received disability benefits in December 2011, including more than 51,000 in Butler, Champaign, Clark, Greene, Miami, Montgomery, and Warren counties.
Brown and his staff are exploring long-term fixes to ensure that Ohioans receive the benefits they deserve. During the meeting today at Brown's Columbus Regional Office, SSA cited delays with hospitals transitioning to electronic medical records as a reason for the backlog in processing claims. Brown's office agreed to work with hospitals to prioritize the transition to electronic medical records, streamlining, and expediting the claims process. Brown's office is also working to raise awareness and urge Ohioans to utilize the SSA's video hearings system so Ohioans have access to hearings at earlier dates, potentially preventing long waits for in-person hearings at the Dayton office.
Attending today's meeting from Brown's office were the Senator's State Director, Dayton Regional Representative, and constituent services representative; attending on behalf of the SSA were the Regional Commissioner, SSA Chicago Region, Regional Chief of Administrative Law Judges Office of Disability Adjudication Review-Chicago Region, the Regional Communications Director- SSA Chicago Region, and Deputy Area Director -- Southern Ohio.
Sen. Brown and his casework staff provide a variety of services to residents of Ohio whose problem concerns a federal government agency, including Social Security, the VA, and Medicare or Medicaid. For more information, Ohioans can visit the website at brown.senate.gov/services/casework or by calling 1-888-896-OHIO.