ALJ Statistics

February 22, 2017

Fiscal Year 2016 statistics are out with regard to Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) productivity.  Most ALJs (0ver 900) tend to issues between 400 and 600 decisions each year, or an average of 33-50 decisions each month.  However, some ALJs are outliers:

  • About 75 ALJs issued over 600 decisions
  • About 290 ALJs issued between 300 and 400 decisions
  • About 400 ALJs issued less than 200 decisions

The statistics may be skewed in that some of the less productive ALJs could have been hired mid-year, however, if any ALJ is working full time and issuing less than 30 decisions a month, I would consider that to be deplorable.  Disabled individuals are waiting, at least in Jacksonville, upwards of 18 months for a decision.  We have 14 ALJs in our office, suggesting that, on average between 8000 and 9000 decisions each year.   Unfortunately, there are probably in excess of 14000 individuals waiting for hearings.  Currently, the Jacksonville office has been transferring their workload to other offices in Birmingham and Florence Alabama.  I am hopeful that this initiative will help the wait times will decrease but I think a modest increase in the lowest producing ALJs would also decrease the backlog of cases and consequently, the wait time for a hearing.

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Your eligibility for these benefits works on the same credit system as for retirement payouts, but there are slightly different rules about who is eligible. Eligibility for disability benefits depends on how old you are when you become disabled, as well as the nature of your disability. You can’t qualify for disability benefits if you are able to work and earn more than $1,130 a month (in 2016). Your disability also must be considered severe enough to affect your everyday work-related activities.
Disability benefit payments start only after you have been disabled for five months, and they continue until your condition has improved enough that you can start working again or to the date you reach your full retirement age. To estimate your disability payments, check out the online benefits calculator offered by the SSA.
If your adult child is disabled before the age of 22, he or she can qualify for benefits based on your earnings record. Anyone who becomes disabled after turning 22 needs to pass the recent work test, a measure of how many years of work you have performed depending on your age.
If you are still receiving disability insurance by the time you reach full retirement age, your payments switch over to retirement benefits. The amount of your payments remains the same.

The status of Social Security benefit statements has been in flux in recent years.  At one point, SSA claimed a $71 million savings by rolling back the paper statements and instead requiring individuals to either set up an online account or visit a local office to obtain statement.

Last month, Deputy Commissioner Doug Walker disclosed that the agency would cease mailing paper statements to most workers. Only people ages 60 or older who are not receiving benefits and who haven’t opened a MySocialSecurity online account will still get them.

The stated reason is budgetary concerns, but the failure to send paper statements seems shortsighted given that hours at local offices have been cut, the wait times at the 1-800 number is at times interminable and many people lack the capacity to set up an online account.

You’ve finally sat down to work on your taxes and you’re ready to file today—until you notice that you’re missing your SSA-1099! Now what?  SSA makes it easy to get the replacement Social Security tax forms you need. But first, double-check your stack of mail—you may already have the one we mailed to you in January.

An SSA-1099, or Benefit Statement, is a tax form Social Security mails each year in January to people who receive Social Security benefits. It shows the total amount of Social Security benefits received in the previous year so people know how much Social Security income to report to IRS on their tax return.

For noncitizens who live outside of the United States and who received or repaid Social Security benefits last year, we will send form SSA-1042S instead. The forms SSA-1099 and SSA-1042S are not available for people who receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

If you live in the United States and need a replacement form SSA-1099 or SSA-1042S, you can obtain an instant replacement, quickly and easily. The online replacement form is available beginning February 1, 2017.  In order to obtain the replacement, you will have to set up an online Social Security account.

Get your replacement Social Security tax forms at http://www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount.

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