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Changes Underway for Social Security Disability

There are several changes underway in how the Social Security Administration determines eligibility for disability benefits. The Houston Social Security attorneys at The Law Offices Of M. Stanley Whitehead recognize these as significant for those who are currently and will in the future need benefits.

Here are some of the key SSDI changes that are in the works:

Job Listing Changes

When a person has applied for disability benefits, one of the elements of their claim that the SSA will consider is the ability to work in the claimant’s area. In doing so, the SSA uses vocational experts to review a database of more than 10,000 job listings. These listings have not been updated since 1991 and doesn’t account for changes in the job market and technology advances that have opened up new career fields and job opportunities. The rewriting of these job listings is expected to take years, with an anticipated completion date of 2016 or later.

Changing “the Grid”

“The Grid” refers to the set of rules that is reviewed when determining qualification for disability benefits. The grid looks at factors of an applicant including education, age and type and severity of disability. Houston Social Security attorneys note that this “grid” hasn’t been updated in many years, a task which the SSA will be undertaking as well.

Redistributing Caseloads

Because of a backlog of disability claims to analyze, judges have been reviewing far more cases than is practicable to give each a complete and thorough review. The cap for the number of cases a judge can review in a year has been lowered twice in recent years. The current cap is around 800 cases.

Judge Oversight

Houston Social Security attorneys note that one element of change coming to the Social Security Administration is more clear oversight of administrative judges. In the past, this job was considered by many to be a lifetime appointment because it was difficult to remove judges from the post. Now, the agency will be increasing its scrutiny of judges and creating more layers of supervision over the judge’s actions in reviewing cases.

If you need assistance with a Social Security disability denial, contact The Law Offices Of M. Stanley Whitehead today at 713-993-7311.

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