In a previous post, we let you know that Attorney J. Russell Fentress, IV, partner at The Law Firm of Goss & Fentress had written to three members of Congress to ask for help for our Social Security Disability clients in having their claims processed in a more timely fashion. Delays are occurring in the Virginia Disability Determination Service (DDS), the agency responsible for investigating disability claims files with the Social Security Administration.
Senator Tim Kaine of Virginia, quickly responded to us indicating that he had met with regional executive leadership from the Social Security Administration to discuss our concerns.
The Social Security Administration has contacted us in further response to Senator Kaine’s inquiry, and given us the following information:
“On the DDS side, cases are significantly backlogged. The DDS was under a hiring freeze for about three years due to our restrictive budgets. Compounding the hiring freeze, the lion’s share of the DDS’s personnel losses were from the ranks of their disability examiners, the very folks who make disability determinations.
“To assist the DDS in rebounding from this unacceptable situation, we have, indeed, enlisted assistance from other disability determination components within SSA. To date we’ve employed the Extended Service Team located in Roanoke, Virginia, and the Disability Processing Branch in Philadelphia. Those groups have taken about 10,000 cases from the Virginia DDS. Additionally, we will begin in the next week to transfer about 200 cases a month from Virginia to the Delaware DDS, and next month, we expect to transfer about 800 cases per month from Virginia to the Disability Processing Unit in Baltimore.
“In addition to transferring backlogged workloads out of Virginia, we recently approved 97 hires for the DDS, almost all of whom will be disability examiners. Once these new hires are fully trained, they will help in the reduction of workloads.”
Again, we at Goss & Fentress ask all concerned Virginians to contact your congressional representatives to let them know that they should do all they can to help reduce the suffering of their fellow citizens who are disabled and in need of their hard-earned benefits.