Administration and Financing

Background

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) faces significant administrative challenges. These challenges are primarily due to the failure of Congress to adequately fund the Social Security Administration (SSA). SSA’s workload has increased. But the agency has not received increases in administrative resources.

This has resulted in a large and growing backlog of SSDI benefit determinations. Beneficiaries often wait months for an initial determination. They can then wait another year for a decision at the next level of review. The bottleneck is at the hearings level. This is where applicants can present their case to an administrative law judge. Despite efforts to streamline and improve the process, backlogs and waiting times have generally increased since 2000. Annual average wait times have hovered around 18 months for several years.

Sufficient funding would allow SSA to invest in new technology. That would improve program operations and guide program management. Improved research and data analytics could provide information about program integrity, effectiveness, and efficiency.

SOCIAL SECURITY DISABILITY INSURANCE ADMINISTRATION AND FINANCING: Policy

SOCIAL SECURITY DISABILITY INSURANCE ADMINISTRATION AND FINANCING: Policy

Funding

The Social Security Administration (SSA) must have sufficient resources and staff to ensure stable, effective management of the disability programs.

Research and analysis

SSA should collect and report sufficient data to ensure program integrity. This should also allow for research about the impact of the program as well as monitoring of the experience of applicants and beneficiaries.