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If you have a psychological disability, the application process for Social Security Disability Insurance can be difficult. Now a committee from the Institute of Medicine is calling for more testing, which could make it even harder. In 2014, the Social Security Administration paid benefits to nearly 11 million disabled workers and their dependents. Of those,…
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The Wall Street Journal article from 5-19-11 regarding Huntington, West Virginia SS judge David B. Daugherty certainly caused quite a stir. In case you missed it, ALJ Daugherty had issued 729 decisions since the fiscal year began on October 1st. The average & target # is 40 per month, per judge.
And the average award rate at the ODAR appeal level is about 60%. Judge Daugherty awarded benefits to all 729 Claimants.
For me, it was reminiscent of several now deceased ALJs in the Detroit ODAR. There were several from the City of Detroit staff. They were of Irish heritage. They awarded benefits to just about every Claimant who was represented. The judge is an important variable. One of these judges once told me that he gave a lot of credibility to the testimony of the Claimant. He didn’t want the person who treated at the free clinic and didn’t have well-documented symptoms to suffer for it.
For me, the issue is even clearer.
If 60% is the average award rate by ALJs, (mine is closer to 90%) then 100% is better than 15%.
Here in Michigan we have been both blessed & cursed with video (and sometimes in person) hearings with judges from Tulsa, Dallas, Stockton, CA, and other locales, plus the National Hearings Centers in Chicago and Washington D.C.
The plus side is that we’ve had quicker hearings and the judges are, by and large, about the same as we would draw locally. But there are exceptions.
Check out this Social Security link.
The statistics for every SS ALJ in the country is listed. The # of decisions, both open and closed awards, plus denials are listed.
I’m not going to list them by name, but check out the stats for a couple of judges from the Dallas North ODAR. How about award rates of 14% & 5%! Or the judges from Dover & Richmond, who award benefits to 18% & 21%.
No, paying 100% is better than those numbers when the average is 60%