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DHS News Release


April 29, 2005


Contacts:Gloria Berning, (503) 986-4871, DHS Seniors & People with Disabilities
Trish Neiworth, (503) 945-5922, DHS Public Affairs


Oregon earns national, regional honors for faster, more accurate disability determination services


Pictured: Robert Iseminger, Disability Program Administrator for Washington and Alaska; Gloria Berning, DHS Seniors and People with Disabilities; Don Larsen, Disability Program Administrator for Oregon and Idaho; Dennis Wulkan, Assistant Regional Commissioner of the federal Social Security Administration; and Steve Finkelson, Center Director for the Center For Disability Operations.

(Salem, OR) -- Faster and more accurate processing of client claims was one of several reasons given by the U.S. Social Security Administration for awarding the Department of Human Services Disability Determination Services (DDS) with its highest honor this month.


The department’s DDS section -- which determines and processes disability claims for thousands of Oregonians annually for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) -- received the following awards:


--Oregon DDS Director Gloria Berning -- the Commissioner’s Citation, the highest national honor a DDS director can receive from the SSA.


--The DHS DDS team -- a U.S. Social Security Administration (SSA) Regional Commissioner’s Citation in recognition of "overall achievements in program performance and demonstrating outstanding service to the public."


--Disability Analyst Dawn Stone -- an individual SSA Regional Commissioner’s Citation for, "exceptional professionalism and demonstrating outstanding achievements in job performance."


This past year, Oregon cut three weeks off of its initial claims processing time, beating the national average by about two weeks, and exceeding the national average for overall accuracy for completing claims.


Berning said this was accomplished in part to shifting resources within the program and developing action plans that improved productivity.


"Our DDS staff has been creative and continued to search for better ways of doing their work, in spite of funding reductions and program cutbacks," said DHS Director Gary Weeks. "We applaud them for their achievements and the recognition it has brought Oregon."