Millions of Americans receive Social Security disability payments from the Social Security Administration (SSA), and more apply for benefits every year. The SSA has immense responsibilities to help Americans with disabilities, and the administration continues to work to ensure all Americans with disabilities receive the help they need. Yet, according to SSA official Glenn Sklar, deputy commissioner of the Office of Disability Adjudication and Review, the administration can do more to aid disabled Americans.
SSA Official Testifies Before Congress, Pleads for Increased Monthly Pay
SSA official Sklar recently testified before the House of Representatives committee that oversees Social Security. He said Social Security disability beneficiaries don’t receive adequate payments.
“In December 2012, a worker who was found to be disabled in the Social Security context received, on average, a little over $1,100 in SSDI benefits per month, barely above the current poverty income level of $13,000 per year,” Sklar said, testifying as an SSA official before Congress. “The quality of our benefit decisions is a paramount concern for the agency.”
However, Sklar said other SSA official staff have done a good job in improving various disability program areas. These improvements include reducing wait times and improving hiring and training processes for the agency.
Long Wait Times Also Addressed In Congressional Speech
“The average wait for a person to receive a hearing decision was over 500 days [in 2007],” Sklar said. “Congress made it clear that addressing untimely hearing decisions must be our top priority. Today, the results are clear that our plan has worked. We have significantly improved the quality and timeliness of our hearing decisions. We steadily reduced the wait for a hearing decision from a high of 512 days in fiscal year (FY) 2007, to 375 days in FY 2013.”
SSA Official Applauds Improved Disability Ruling Process By Administrative Law Judges
While the SSA increased its efforts to improve eligibility decision-making among ALJs, more needs to be done, Sklar said. For the administration to continue maintaining its strict standards, it must continually update its disability eligibility rulings. This is good news for those considering applying for Social Security disability benefits.
Megan Kelly is a former blogger and copywriter for LeadingResponse.