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CA Docs Making Big Bucks for Reviewing Disability Claims

Posted on Sep 29, 2011

Because of the backlog in disability cases nationwide, the California Department of Social Services hires mental and physical health professionals to review disability claims. Two of these professionals, both psychiatrists, garnered over $500,000 in 2010 bonuses from the state funds.

Dr. Robert Paxton, 62, received $306,315 in bonuses, and Dr. Kelley J. Loomis, 45, raked in $237,168 above his regular earnings. Attorneys who represent the disabled in California allege that the caseload required for those earnings is physically impossible. If Paxton worked 221 days of the year, he would have to have handled around 70 cases each day, which adds up to 15,000 in a year. Critics maintain that if he worked as many as ten hours a day, Paxton could spend no longer than nine minutes for each claim.

Given that some cases run as long as 100 pages, experienced disability lawyers are questioning the earnings. Alise M. Kellman, San Diego Attorney, has spent 27 years representing the disabled. She said, "It is impossible to review that many cases in one day and give a thorough review, a fair review."

According to Social Security data, the California program paid $1.9 million in bonuses in 2010, which is enough to review 71,147 disability cases. Cases reviewed totaled 353,414 in 2010. California attorneys are concerned that cases are being rushed through without proper evaluation. In addition, they are concerned that the bonus money paid out could be better spent on the disabled population.

The Massachusetts based law firm Keefe Disability Law hopes that the Social Security Administration disability program is able to sort out messes like these so that their clients can expect a smooth, fair process in their claims. If you or a loved one is experiencing problems with your disability claim, contact us today at 888-904-6847. View the U-T San Diego article here for more information.

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John L. Keefe
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Founding Attorney of Keefe Disability Law