As regular readers of SS&Y are aware, the Social Security Administration administers 2 trust funds. The Old Age Survivors Insurance (OAS’) fund pays retirement benefits. The Disability Insurance fund (DI) pays disability benefits. When Congress passed and President Obama signed the Bipartisan Budget Act in November of 2015 to reallocate current contributions between the OASI…
The Social Security Administration has announced there will be no Cost of Living Adjustment in 2016 for the nearly 65 million Americans drawing Social Security disability, retirement or SSI benefits. This is because there was no inflation between the third quarter of 2014 and 2015 as measured by the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage…
Spring-Summer 2015 Newsletter SSDI Insolvency Looms We’ve known it’s been coming for some time and now it’s on our doorstep. Unless Congress acts the Social Security Disability Insurance Trust Fund (DI Trust Fund) will become insolvent late next year and unable to pay full benefits any longer. Millions of Americans who rely on their disability checks for most, if not all,…
Fall 2014 Newsletter OBAMACARE UPDATE On October 1st it will have been a year since enrollment began in the Affordable Care Act national health insurance program known as Obamacare. The difficulties in the early weeks and months have been well documented. But where are we a year later… Read the Newsletter in PDF format. Read the Newsletter in PDF…
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%