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Social Security Officials Award Benefits without Reviewing Applications – Report

September 13, 2012

Washington, D.C. – A new report by congressional investigators revealed that Social Security officials are awarding benefits without first thoroughly reviewing applications.

According to the report of the Republican staff of the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, there were many cases where Social Security officials approved disability benefits without citing medical evidence or without providing further explanation on the medical basis used to arrive at an approval.

In more than one-fourth of some 300 disability cases reviewed by the congressional staff, decisions to award benefits “failed to properly address insufficient, contradictory or incomplete evidence.”

The report added that administrative law judges (ALJs) who were having a hard time reducing backlogs were not devoted enough to review the evidence in all claims. The report stated that judges are expected to make a ruling on at least 500 cases annually. At least one judge was known to have judged 1,800 cases annually for a three-year span.

For years, the Social Security has been working to lower its backlog of disability claims. Consequently, the federal agency gets overwhelmed with the pending claims that officials award benefits to applicants without resorting first to proper review process.

The report added that such activities may add to the growing financial pains of the Social Security as it nears its possible insolvency.

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