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Stimulus Funds To Go Toward Huge NC Social Security Disability Backlog


Posted on Mar 31, 2009

The business and technology website InformationWeek.com reports that North Carolina's backlog of Social Security Disability Insurance applications may soon see some help thanks to President Obama's economic stimulus plan. Social Security Administration (SSA) Commissioner Michael Asture has been given an extra $1 billion in federal funding to attempt to control the glut of data that comes into the organization's office.

The SSA expects its workload to increase even more in the coming years as baby boomers age and as the government attempts to standardize electronic health records for Americans.

Durham, North Carolina has been chosen for the site of a new $72 million data center where the huge amount of information collected by the SSA can be processed and backed up - data on the 56 million people who receive social security disability benefits as well as data on the earning records of another 200 million people. The new data center is already under construction and should be fully functional in the second half of 2010.

At the same time, the SSA plans to spend another $40 million to revamp the completely overwhelmed social security disability claims processing system. The national backlog of social security disability applications has reached 570,000, with a predicted 15% increase in claims expected in the next year. As the social security disability application process stands now, those seeking SSDI and SSI benefits are waiting between 100 and 850 days for their cases to be heard.

The new system would improve workflow and use the help of computers and electronic health records to review patients' claims. All in all, Asture hopes that the two improvements in data collection and social security application review will end the enormous backlog of cases and get the SSA's head above water. Still the changes will take time and not bring immediate relief to those seeking social security disability benefits.

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