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Changes to SSDI application process forthcoming

For some time now, lawmakers and other critics of the Social Security disability system have been calling for changes in the way the agency operates. In an effort to address some problem areas, the Social Security Administration is reportedly going to be making a number of changes.

Many of the changes have to do with the way SSDI applications are handled. For instance, the agency will reportedly be making changes to its vocational listings, which are used to determine an applicant’s ability to work. The old listings are said to be outdated and not to reflect the fact that more disabled people are able to work jobs that don’t require physical labor.  

Another change concerns the process by which the agency’s judges determine whether an applicant qualifies for disability. The old system has not be brought up-to-date, particularly given the fact that workers are better able to work longer than they used to.

Yet another change to the application process that could be coming soon is a new rule that addresses applicant withholding of information. The new rule has yet to come out, but will likely involve stricter disclosure rules. A related issue is SSDI fraud. To address this, the agency plans to conduct a review of its vulnerabilities to fraud by third-party groups.

The administrative law judges that handle Social Security decisions will also reportedly be experiencing changes as the agency changes their job description and increases oversight. Many of these changes are already underway, and are part of a broad effort to clean up the SSDI system and make it more efficient.

Those who have questions about the SSDI application process do well to work with an experienced attorney who understands the application process, particularly as changes are made to the system. 

Source: Wall Street Journal, “Six Changes Social Security Is Making to Its Disability Program,” Damian Paletta, December 26, 2013. 

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