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St. Louis Social Security Disability Attorney Welcomes Attempts to Reduce Hearing Backlog

SSA to Hire Additional Staff & Open New Hearing Offices

In testimony on April 28, 2009, before the House Ways and Means Social Security Subcommittee, SSA updated Congress regarding its plans to use the funds appropriated for fiscal year 2009 and under the stimulus legislation to open new hearing offices and hire additional, desperately needed staff. The stimulus funds ($500 million) will allow SSA to hire more than 2000 additional staff: 39 new ALJs; more than 500 ODAR support staff; 1500 staff for field offices; and 300 DDS disability examiners. When combined with the fiscal year 2009 appropriation, SSA expects to hire more than 7000 new employees, which includes additional staff and replacing vacancies, by September 2009.You can follow SSA’s hiring on its website that reports on its use of the stimulus funds, www.ssa.gov/recovery. The website includes weekly reports that detail SSA activities, including hires for its different components, broken down by SSA region.

At the April 28 hearing, SSA stated its plans to open 13 new ODAR hearing offices in the following locations:

  • Phoenix, AZ

  • St. Petersburg, FL

  • Tallahassee, FL

  • Atlanta South, GA

  • Danville or Portage, IN

  • Topeka, KS

  • Livonia, MI

  • Mt. Pleasant, MI

  • Fayetteville, NC

  • Akron, OH

  • Toledo, OH

  • Auburn, WA

  • Madison, WI

In March 2009, the Commissioner announced plans for 10 new hearing offices but decided to expand the number to 13. In addition, three new National Hearing Center locations are planned:

  • Albuquerque, NM (opened March 2009)

  • Chicago, IL (late fiscal year 2009)

  • Baltimore, MD (early fiscal year 2010)