SSA Staffing Increases Slightly In Q4 2014
The effects of additional Congressional funding allocated to the Social Security Administration (SSA) appear to provide some limited, but much-needed relief to the burdened Agency.
SSA staffing levels inched up 1.1 percent in quarter ending December 31, 2014, according to employment data recently released by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM). Rising for the third consecutive quarter, the Agency’s staffing levels increased from 64,684 to 65,430, a net gain of 746 employees. For the 2014 calendar year, employment rose 5.6 percent, with a net gain of 3,473 employees.
However, Agency staffing remains down 6.9 percent from its peak four years ago at 70,270 on December 31, 2010. In addition, the nationwide number of employees processing initial disability applications, reconsideration appeals and Continuing Disability Reviews (CDRs) at state Disability Determination Services (DDS) offices has decreased 7.1 percent since the end of fiscal year 2010.
The number of administrative law judges (ALJs) increased slightly from 1,433 to 1,449 during the most recent quarter, but remains down 7.5 percent from a high of 1,566 in 2013. Not surprisingly, processing times and pending backlogs at the hearing level are continuing to increase. The most recent quarterly data show hearing processing times up over three months (101 days) since 2012, while the pending backlog of hearings awaiting a decision exceeds one million claims.
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