Social Security Administration: Information Systems Could Improve Processing Attorney Fee Payments in Disability Program

PDF Version Also Available for Download.

Description

A letter report issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "To ensure that people claiming disability insurance benefits can obtain legal representation at a fair price, the Social Security Act requires that the Social Security Administration (SSA) regulate the fees that attorneys charge people to represent their disability claims before the agency. Inefficiencies in the current process increase both the time it takes to pay the attorney fees and the costs of administration. One segment of attorney fee processing--the fee approval process--was substantially simplified in 1991. Systems support could streamline the second segment of the processing--the ... continued below

Creation Information

United States. General Accounting Office. June 22, 2001.

Context

This report is part of the collection entitled: Government Accountability Office Reports and was provided by UNT Libraries Government Documents Department to Digital Library, a digital repository hosted by the UNT Libraries. More information about this report can be viewed below.

Who

People and organizations associated with either the creation of this report or its content.

Publisher

Provided By

UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Serving as both a federal and a state depository library, the UNT Libraries Government Documents Department maintains millions of items in a variety of formats. The department is a member of the FDLP Content Partnerships Program and an Affiliated Archive of the National Archives.

Contact Us

What

Descriptive information to help identify this report. Follow the links below to find similar items on the Digital Library.

Description

A letter report issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "To ensure that people claiming disability insurance benefits can obtain legal representation at a fair price, the Social Security Act requires that the Social Security Administration (SSA) regulate the fees that attorneys charge people to represent their disability claims before the agency. Inefficiencies in the current process increase both the time it takes to pay the attorney fees and the costs of administration. One segment of attorney fee processing--the fee approval process--was substantially simplified in 1991. Systems support could streamline the second segment of the processing--the fee payment--thus lowering the annual administrative costs and cutting processing time. By automating this final segment of the fee processing, SSA could help improve customer service for both claimants and their attorneys. GAO found that despite internal recommendations for a new system, SSA has repeatedly postponed its plans to improve the attorney fee payment process. Indeed, even though these improvements have been part of SSA's system's plans since 1998, SSA has yet to establish a firm schedule for carrying out its plans. Additionally, although SSA has a draft plan for improving the process, agency officials told GAO that the details of the plan have not been completed and SSA has yet to complete a cost estimate for the project. There are also other gaps in the plan--such as not creating an attorney master file or establishing an electronic connection between the payment processing staff and the Office of Hearings and Appeals fee approval staff--where taking additional actions could improve the process. Furthermore, SSA's performance plan did not have goals related to attorney fees--neither for cost reduction of the program nor payment timeliness. SSA would need such goals as part of its current planning effort for improving the attorney fee payment process as well as for its future operations. Without such quantifiable goals, future efforts to track and oversee SSA's progress in these areas will be difficult."

Language

Item Type

Identifier

Unique identifying numbers for this report in the Digital Library or other systems.

Collections

This report is part of the following collection of related materials.

Government Accountability Office Reports

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) is an independent, nonpartisan agency that works for the U.S. Congress investigating how the federal government spends taxpayers' money. Its goal is to increase accountability and improve the performance of the federal government. The Government Accountability Office Reports Collection consists of over 13,000 documents on a variety of topics ranging from fiscal issues to international affairs.

What responsibilities do I have when using this report?

When

Dates and time periods associated with this report.

Creation Date

  • June 22, 2001

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • June 11, 2014, 5:03 a.m.

Usage Statistics

When was this report last used?

Yesterday: 0
Past 30 days: 0
Total Uses: 6

Where

Geographical information about where this report originated or about its content.

Place Name

Publication Place

Map Information

  • map marker Automatically generated Place Name coordinates.
  • map marker Automatically generated Publication Place coordinates.
  • Repositioning map may be required for optimal printing.

Mapped Locations

Interact With This Report

Here are some suggestions for what to do next.

Start Reading

PDF Version Also Available for Download.

International Image Interoperability Framework

IIF Logo

We support the IIIF Presentation API

United States. General Accounting Office. Social Security Administration: Information Systems Could Improve Processing Attorney Fee Payments in Disability Program, report, June 22, 2001; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc293735/: accessed December 13, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.