What disability claimants get angry about - Part II

This is probably one of the most common grievances held by Social Security Disability and SSI disability claimants---not getting calls returned. Disability claimants routinely do not receive call backs from the social security office and sometimes not even from disability examiners.

Why does this happen? Well, in my own opinion, disability examiners have less justification for not returning calls to claimants because they're not really deluged with public contact. For the most part, they're left alone to work undisturbed in their cubicles all day long, reading MER (medical evidence of record) and completing writeups to present to their unit consultants (medical and psychological).

Social security field office claims reps, on the other hand, have a horrible job--too much work and not enough warm bodies to get it all done without significant ongoing stress and anxiety. Quite literally, they barely have time to get their work done and with increased agency attrition and a failure to adequately makeup for attrition, this will only get worse.

Just the same, though, none of this is a claimant's responsiblity. If a claimant has a question and leaves a message, they should receive a timely response. So, what do you do if you are a claimant and your fifteen calls have not been returned over the last two weeks? Call and ask to speak to a supervisor or, if you can stomach the thought of making a trip down to the social security office, do so. In-person visits are sometimes more effective.

Finally, it should be noted that individuals using a disability attorney or a non-attorney disability representative can simply have that individual contact either the Social security office or DDS (disability determinatio services, where examiners are based), or even the hearing office to obtain any information their client seeks to obtain.

About the Author: Tim Moore is a former Social Security Disability Examiner in North Carolina, has been interviewed by the NY Times and the LA Times on the disability system, and is an Accredited Disability Representative (ADR) in North Carolina. For assistance on a disability application or Appeal in NC, click here.

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