A previous blog post discussed the increased wait times for Ohioans and people across the country on their Social Security disability claims. Due to Social Security Administration (SSA) budget cuts, cost -saving measures such as hiring freezes and staff cuts were implemented. As a result, many people are left waiting, sometimes years, to get decisions on their claims.
Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities (OOD) is the Ohio agency that makes determinations on Social Security disability. The SSA receives submitted applications and sends the claims to the OOD Division of Disability Determination (DDD). The DDD then assesses whether applicants have met the medical requirements for disability as set forth by the SSA and the adjudicator will either make a determination or request additional medical evidence. If additional evidence is required, an independent consultative examination will be performed, the results of which will be given to the DDD for determination.
Initial applications can be appealed for reconsideration and those resulting in denial may be heard by an administrative law judge. Dismissed requests for hearing cases and cases denied by a judge at the hearing level may then be appealed to the Social Security Appeals Council. The SSA has reported on various cities’ average wait times until a hearing was held for cases in November 2017. The average wait time in Columbus, Ohio was 19 months.
Applicants with severe disabilities also have the option of expedited claim processing. The SSA will issue a Quick Disability Determination (QDD) after performing a predictive computer analyzation on an electronic claim to determine which individuals can be most easily identified as disabled. Those who meet the established medical criteria or who were disabled while on active duty may receive expedited decisions regarding Social Security Disability benefits.