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Social Security Commissioner Lauds Success of Backlog Reduction Plan

September 30, 2009

Michael Astrue, Social Security commissioner, has announced that their backlog reduction plan worked. The commissioner also cited that there are fewer pending hearings this year compared to early 2009.

In 2009, there are currently 722,822 hearings compared to the 760,813 hearings during early 2009. At the start of the year, there was a reduction of more than 37,000 cases. The processing of each case was significantly faster—from 514 days to 491 days.

“Even in the face of a significant increase in our workloads as a result of the worst recession since the Great Depression, we have reduced the hearings backlog for nine consecutive months. Thanks to the efforts of thousands of hardworking Social Security employees and the additional funding we received from President Obama and the Congress, we have exceeded our backlog reduction goal for this year,” Commissioner Astrue said.

Apart from that, Social Security also hired 147 new Administrative Law Judges (ALJs) and 850 support staff. They are also planning to hire 226 additional ALJs plus support staff by 2010.

Currently, there are three new National Hearing Centers (NHCs) which opened in Albuquerque, New Mexico; Baltimore, Maryland; and Chicago, Illinois. There are 14 new hearing offices and four satellite offices expected to open by the end of 2010.

In 2007, there were 65,000 aged cases that were more than 1,000 days old. These will be eliminated in 2010. There are also 570 dispositions available ALJ in this year.

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