Equal Opportunity:

OHA Backlogs

HEHS-95-228R: Published: Jul 28, 1995. Publicly Released: Jul 28, 1995.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Social Security Administration's (SSA) efforts to reduce backlogs at its Office of Hearings and Appeals (OHA). GAO noted that: (1) past SSA efforts to reduce backlogs and decrease case processing times included shifting OHA resources, making process changes to improve productivity, hiring more administrative law judges (ALJ) and support staff, and increased overtime; (2) previous efforts enhanced OHA productivity, although backlogs continued to grow; (3) SSA has designed short-term initiatives to address backlogs, stemming the flow of cases from SSA field offices and state disability determination services to OHA and using regional screening units and prehearing conferencing to reduce the number of cases requiring ALJ hearings; (4) the limited impact of the screening units and implementation delays for prehearing conferencing may prevent SSA from reaching its backlog reduction goals; and (5) SSA is concerned that the pressures of meeting initiatives within limited timeframes will impact decision accuracy.

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