The chairman of a Congressional Ways and Means Subcommittee has requested a federal investigation into the process under which states hire doctors to review applications for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits.
U.S. Representative John Larson of Connecticut has formally requested the United States Government Accountability Office (GAO), the federal government’s fiscal watchdog, investigate how doctors review applications for disability benefits. His action follows a recent report which raises concerns that many qualified applicants may be unfairly denied in a rush to process applications quickly to be compensated for more money.
What the Proposed Investigation Would Examine
The producers of the report sought information from the Social Security Administration (SSA) on the performance of doctors who review disability cases. The SSA estimated such a report would cost $2.3 million. This led Larson to ask the GAO for its own examination on a state-by-state basis.
Larson wants the GAO to examine paying doctors on contract—and the compensation doctors receive for each case. He also wants to know what qualifications these physicians hold, including any performance measures to which they are held. The ultimate goal is an analysis of the quality of their decisions. The GAO reserves the right to accept or decline such requests for an audit.
How Applications Are Reviewed
The SSA oversees the SSD program on a federal level. The agency, however, delegates the review of individual applications to the states. It is up to the states to determine who qualifies.
The states hire doctors to review applications and make recommendations on eligibility, often paying a flat fee per case. In some instances, physicians appear to speed through as many as five applications per hour.
Experts worry this is not enough time to review detailed medical records and issue an accurate determination regarding an applicant’s approval or denial of benefits. They also feel long wait times place undue hardship on those who have been wrongfully denied benefits. In 2017, more than 9,570 SSD applicants died while waiting for an appeals decision.
We Can Help
If you are disabled and unable to work, call Disability Attorneys of Michigan for a free confidential consultation. We’ll let you know if we can help you get a monthly check and help you determine if any money or assets you receive could impact your eligibility for disability benefits.
Disability Attorneys of Michigan works hard every day helping the disabled of Michigan seek the Social Security Disability Benefits they need. If you are unable to work due to a physical, mental, or cognitive impairment, call Disability Attorneys of Michigan now for a free consultation at 800-949- 2900.
Let Michigan’s experienced Social Security Disability law firm help you get the benefits you deserve.
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