The number of workers’ compensation, immigration,  wage and whistleblower cases has more than doubled  over the past decade, while the number of judges  available to handle them has declined.

To help address the backlog, which grew to 11,325 cases  at the end of September 2013, the Obama Administration  has proposed an additional $2 million to hire 10  employees within the Labor Department’s Office of  Administrative Law Judges (OALJ).

The infusion would be welcome for an office that has  seen the number of judges nationwide drop to 35  nationwide.  There were 41 early in fiscal year 2013 and  53 a decade ago.

The budget request follows a February 18 letter six  members of Congress sent to the White House.  The lawmakers complained of “untenable delays” in  adjudicating claims, such as claims under the Black Lung  Benefits Act, and alleged violations of employment law.  “These delays directly and severely impact the lives of  workers throughout the country, placing an undue  financial and emotional burden on the affected  individuals and their families,” they said.

The Labor Department has stated it is committed to  resolving compensation claims for workers and their  families, including alleviating the ALJ case backlog.

If the funds are approved, it is likely only three or four  more ALJs would be added, with the rest of the money  going for support personnel.