Thinking small: SSA finds solutions to backlog of cases

Wednesday - 10/6/2010, 3:24pm EDT

The Social Security Administration has been fighting a backlog of cases since the recession.

The economic downturn led to about 650,000 extra cases a year, for a total of 3.3 million claims a year, Government Executive reports.

SSA Commissioner Michael Astrue has taken extra funding, both from Congress' annual appropriations and from the Recovery Act, and invested in staffing and technology

"About half of this we've done with more resources, and we're grateful to the Congress for that," he said in the article. "But we've also done about half of it with increases in productivity. We were in such bad shape we really needed both."

The agency is adding 25 hearing offices in an 18-month period and has set up five national hearing centers where judges, who can conduct video hearings.

"The only way to fix this system is good old-fashioned management and doing hundreds and hundreds of things better than what we did before," Astrue told Government Executive.

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