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2019 Letters to the editor stock

I am responding to the Jan. 6 letter "Make Social Security workers wait for paycheck." The letter writer feels SSA employees are responsible for thousands of suicides because of the length of time it takes to make medical decisions on disability claims. No SSA employees make medical decisions on disability claims. These decisions are made by state agencies known as Disability Determination Services. These agencies have contracts with the federal government to gather the medical evidence and make the decisions on these claims at the initial level and reconsideration level. The decision at the third stage, the hearing level, is made by an Administrative Law Judge.

Again, at no stage during the medical decision process is a SSA employee involved other than to gather the information, doctors' names, addresses, etc., needed for this decision to be made. SSA employees do not have medical training and do not make the medical decisions. I worked for SSA for over 40 years and at no time did I ever make a medical decision on the hundreds, if not thousands of disability claims I processed.

Deborah Narug, Hammond

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Editor

Marc Chase is a veteran investigative reporter, columnist and editor of more than two decades. He currently leads The Times news staff as local news editor. He can be reached at 219-933-3327.