Monthly Archives: April 2013

Tulsa Disability Attorney: ALJ Union Files Lawsuit, Claims Illegal Case Quota

On April 19, a union representing Administrative Law Judges (ALJs) filed a lawsuit claiming that its members are subject to an illegal quota that requires them to decide an average of more than two cases per day. The Association of Administrative Law Judges filed the lawsuit in a Chicago federal court. The lawsuit names the Social Security Administration (SSA) and acting SSA commissioner Carolyn Colvin as defendants. The union represents 1,400 ALJs. “When the goals are too high, the easy way out is to pay the case,” Randall Frye, the president of the Association of Administrative Law Judges told the Associated Press. “Paying the case is a decision that might be three pages long. When you deny benefits, it’s usually a 15- or 20-page denial that takes a lot more time and effort.” The SSA has a productivity goal for ALJs to hear 500 to 700 cases per year. The…
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Eight Former SSA Commissioners Denounce NPR Piece in Open Letter

Earlier this month, eight former commissioners of the Social Security Administration (SSA) wrote an open letter to the public expressing their concerns with an NPR story entitled “Unfit for Work: The Startling Rise of Disability in America.” We have been covering the fallout from the story  since it was published in March, and multiple observers have pointed out how key details were omitted that could lead people to believe that all Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) recipients are lazy or entitled. In their letter, the commissioners argue that the Social Security system is necessary for people with severe disabilities. “Approximately 1 in 5 of our fellow Americans live with disabilities, but only those with the most significant disabilities qualify for disability benefits,” the letter said. “Disabled beneficiaries often report multiple impairments, and many have such poor health that they are terminally ill: about 1 in 5 male [SSDI] beneficiaries and…
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Applicants Will Now Know ALJ’s Name Before Hearing

Last week, the Social Security Administration (SSA) was expected to begin disclosing the names of the Administrative Law Judges (ALJ) scheduled to oversee applicant Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) appeal cases. Last year, the SSA began the practice of not informing SSDI applicants about the ALJ assigned to their appeal before a hearing. The change back to naming the ALJ was scheduled to take place on April 20. This is good news for applicants and SSDI attorneys. Knowing the intricacies of a judge’s thinking or the way they conduct a hearing is important during the appeals process. ALJs have various ways they like to conduct hearings, including ways they request pre-hearing documentation. Nearly 850,000 people filed a disability claim appeal for a hearing during fiscal year 2012 after being denied during an initial application. The SSDI application process has five levels: application, reconsideration, hearing, appeals council and federal court. During…
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Tulsa Disability Attorney: House Democrats Concerned Over Proposed SSDI Cuts

Updating a blog post we brought you last week, various news outlets are reporting that President Obama is struggling to convince House Democrats to cut Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits. The proposed cut, known as “chained CPI,” is a 0.3 percent reduction to the yearly cost-of-living adjustment associated with benefit payments. According to the congressional newspaper The Hill, the White House sent an advisor to the Capitol last week to meet with House Democrats in an effort to soothe their concerns over cuts proposed in his 2014 budget. “For me, there’s no question. If this is a negotiation on budget issues, trying to deal with deficits, then Social Security has never added a single penny to the deficits of this country or to the national debt,” Representative Xavier Becerra, a California Democrat and chair of the House Democratic Caucus told The Hill. “So if…
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