I regularly write about situations where the State agency known as Disability Determination Services (“DDS”) wastes taxpayer time and money. I need to address this topic again, only a week after I last did so.
A 61 year old former communications electrician supervisor, which the U.S. Department of Labor’s Dictionary of Occupational Titles describes as heavy work, asked me to handle his Social Security Disability (“SSD”) appeal last month. I immediately prepared and submitted an OTR , which was approved in less than a month.
The Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) promptly approved SSD benefits based upon the opinion of the DDS doctor, who said the claimant should avoid even mild exertion due to his ischemic heart disease. The ALJ’s rapid approval of the claimant’s SSD application based upon the opinion of the DDS’s own doctor shows that the State agency’s review was a complete waste of time, which then required the ALJ to review the claim a second time, thereby duplicating the resources needed to approve an obviously meritorious disability claim.
In my prior blog entry I explained how DDS fraud wastes taxpayer money by denying SSD applications after a claimant objects to a consultative examination (“CE”) by a DDS doctor. Here, the claimant attended the CE, the CE said the claimant should avoid even mild exertion that precludes any type of work, let alone the claimant’s past heavy work requiring lifting up to 100 pounds, yet the DDS still denied the SSD application.
The Social Security Administration (“SSA”) did away with the reconsideration step of the appeal process in New York and some other areas. Perhaps the SSA should also eliminate the initial decision making process by the DDS. The SSA could then use some of the savings to hire more ALJs, staff attorneys, and support staff to make the initial decisions.