Dealing with the Massive Bureaucracy of the Social Security Administration
As with any massive bureaucratic infrastructure, one of the most frustrating aspects of dealing with the Social Security Administration (SSA) is the sheer enormity of the agency. SSA alone employs more than 57,000 bureaucrats – and that’s not counting the 8,000 additional functionaries who work for its sister agency, the SSA Office of Disability Adjudication and Review (ODAR), including about 1,300 Administrative Law Judges (ALJs) and 34 Administrative Appeals Judges. Keep in mind that the above statistics only take into account federal employees, and not the more than 14,000 workers in various state agencies across the country who play a role in determining disability claims prior to an ALJ hearing.
Any claimant who has tried to take on the system alone knows how hard it is to find the right bureaucrat to speak with, and to get a straight, plain-English answer once that person is found. Even lawyers accustomed to working with this system must overcome the roadblocks routinely placed on the path to a successful disability claim.
As if the massive size of the bureaucracy was not enough, the claims process is further complicated by the convoluted nature of Social Security Disability and SSI, the two main programs administered by SSA. When changes are made to these programs, SSA employees are slow to receive word of them. These problems are well illustrated by a test of SSA’s toll-free hotline in which a quarter of all questions posed about SSI were answered incorrectly.
One reason for these intractable systemic problems is the unsuitability of complex disability determinations to routine adjudication by state agencies. By the time SSA receives cases at the ALJ level, the shortcomings of the state agency determinations in dealing with complex medical-vocational issues is often glossed over. Another frequently recurring issue is the rigid application of rules by low-level bureaucrats, even when the outcome makes no logical sense.
Fortunately, you don’t need to face the massive, impersonal bureaucracy of SSA alone. the Tennessee Disability Lawyer knows the system inside and out and can help you navigate this extremely complex and often maddening system. Contact us today to schedule your free consultation with an experienced Tennessee disability lawyer.