Excellent article in the New York Times from last week detailing the significant drop in disability applications and explaining some of the reasons why which include:

  • Baby Boomers move off of the disability program and over to the retirement program;
  • A decrease in unemployment makes employers look towards disabled individuals as prospective employees; and
  • A significant drop in the number of disability claims being paid on appeal due to retraining of judges who were paying “too many” claims.  Now a person’s chance of being approved for benefits after an appeal is around 48% in 2015, down from 69% in 2008.

Read the whole article here:



New Government reports show that the number of cases pending a hearing has dropped to approximately 985,000 as of April 2018 from a high in 2017 of over 1,100,000.  Despite this fall, the average length of time to process a case has fallen only five days (from 605 days to 600 days), meaning that many people are waiting three years or more for a determination on their claims if they proceed to a hearing.   In 2015, the wait time was closer to 480 days, representing almost a four month increase in the wait times.

Although I have personally not seen this implemented in the Jacksonville hearing office, I am encouraged by the Voluntary Standby program which will allow claimants to have their hearings sooner on short notice in an effort to fill empty hearing slots.

Eric Conn Update

June 13, 2018

As you will recall, Eric Conn was involved in massive Social Security fraud scheme in which he paid an ALJ to approve cases. After his indictment, he fled the country but was discovered and brought back to the US.

At this time he may have reached a plea deal for 27 years in prison in exchange for a guilty plea.

The Washington Post looks at this question:



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