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Social Security Disability Claim Processing Stalled to Give Bonuses to DDS Managers

For millions who are waiting for months, or is some cases even years, to have their Social Security disability claims processed, it may come as a bit of a bitter pill to hear recent reports of disability claim processing being stalled to increase next year’s bonuses (often, quite substantial bonuses) to managers at the Disability Determination Services (DDS).

Apparently, claims workers in several jurisdictions were ordered by management to stall the processing of claims at the end of the SSA’s fiscal quarter in order to record those claim resolutions on the following quarter’s performance results.

Now, most claims workers at the DDS deal with a far larger caseload than can reasonably be expected, and generally work extremely hard for modest pay in the name of helping others.

If it didn’t interfere with the processing of claims, there would be no issue with bonuses being doled out for work well done. The fact is, however, that important work has been delayed to increase bonuses to DDS management.

This important work includes decisions on claims for people who are disabled and desperate, and may be depending on their Social Security Disability benefits award for basic survival needs.

This is outrageous.

What is clear is that members of upper management at the SSA are receiving large bonus checks (in some instances, checks exceeding $50,000). At a time when there is considerable unrest in our country regarding the very solvency of the Social Security program, this seems to be out of keeping with sound policy.

We recognize that the government needs to pay its representatives well in order to keep quality people. And we have no qualms with those who are the top levels of management and provide leadership receiving reasonable compensation.

Stalling the important work of the DDS in reviewing and resolving claims for disability benefits for the purposes of increasing performance based bonuses, however, means that certain Social Security office managers are increasing their own personal financial situation at the direct expense of our nation’s most needful and desperate citizens, and this is unacceptable.