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Managers Pressured to Approve Applications for Social Security Disability Claims

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Birmingham, ALA recent audit by the Social Security Administration's inspector general indicates that managers at the main state office that evaluates Social Security disability claims repeatedly pressured medical consultants to approve more cases for benefits.

The Press-Register reports that pressure never reached the level of intimidation, but that the Disability Determination Service in Birmingham coaxed medical consultants to increase the institution's allowance rates.

The inspector's investigation revealed a number of emails from Social Security supervisors that warn against low allowance rates and discuss a "plan of action" for medical consultants whose approval dropped below 30 percent. The inspector never posited as to why the organization wanted more claims approved, though the Press-Register suggests that supervisors were afraid of looking stingy compared to other states.

In a response to the audit, the disability service managers denied using allowance rates to manage their employees and vowed that all claims would be handled on a merit basis in the future.

"It is management's responsibility to use and share management information to identify anomalies or outliers and to ensure that fair and consistent decisions are made," they wrote in their response


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