Three times per year, the Area Director for the Social Security Administration (SSA) hosts a “Connecting with the Legal Community” meeting. These meetings always provide a wealth of information and allow us a peek behind the curtain as to the happenings at SSA and the Office of Disability Adjudication and Review (ODAR). This month, the following was discussed:

  • Congress is pushing the SSA to conduct more Continuing Disability Reviews (CDRs). This is where they review those who are already receiving benefits to be sure they are still medically eligible for benefits.
  • The SSA field offices will be doing some hiring amidst the high number of retiring staff numbers.
  • The Columbus ODAR is currently scheduling hearings for those claimants that requested hearings in October of 2014. This wait is ramping up due to the high amount of Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) turnover.
  • There are currently 9600 claims pending at the Columbus ODAR. This is the highest number since 2003/2004.
  •  ALJs Foley and Shailer will be retiring in March and April respectively. Both have had long distinguished careers on the bench and they will be missed!
  • ALJs Southern and Gates will be joining the Columbus ODAR in the Spring.

All local attorneys practicing before the Administration are encouraged to attend. The next meeting will be June 24th at 10am at the SSA Area Directors office in Columbus.