Over the past year, Social Security has made meaningful strides in reducing hard copy paperwork and improving the efficiency of the disability adjudication process. One of the most noticeable changes has been the gradual elimination of cardboard and paper files, which are being replaced by compact disks. Social Security personnel now scan medical records and burn the files to compact disc. Employees at the hearing office mail the discs to the attorney for pre-hearing review. From the perspective of an attorney the CD system avoids the hassle of scheduling time to review the files or hiring someone to physically photocopy the files.
The only “fly in the ointment” has to do with the format of the files on the CD. Instead of using a PDF format that everyone else in the free world uses, Social Security has decided to use a format called a TIFF format. TIFF files are larger, harder to print and require a different type of file reader.
Although files in PDF format would have made a lot more sense, I sincerely applaud Social Security for what appears to be a success in reducing the blizzard of paper that has long been associated with disability claim files.
Jonathan Ginsberg represents Social Security disability claimants in Georgia. In practice for over 29 years, Jonathan publishes a widely known disability blog, a podcast and several disability web sites. In 2004, Jonathan published a "how to" book about Social Security disability called the Disability Answer Guide. Jonathan lives with his wife and 2 children in Atlanta.