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Blog

  • 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…

    7+ months ago
  • 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…

    2+ years ago

News

  • 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,…

    2+ years ago
  • 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…

    2+ years ago

SSA WILL NO LONGER IDENTIFY ALJs

At least partially in response to a series of articles earlier this year in the Wall Street Journal, the Social Security administration announced a review of its disability program and a major policy shift that will result in keeping the identity of the Administrative Law Judge assigned to hear a particular appeal secret until the day of the hearing.

The review of the wide variance between the decisions of its 1,500 ALJs will be undertaken by the Administrative Conference of the United States, a Washington-based government policy group. The study is aimed at making recommendations to overhaul the disability appeal process.

A review of recent statistics shows that while the average ALJ awards benefits to 60% of those who request a hearing, some judges award benefits to as few as 15% while more than 100 judges award benefits to better than 85%.

It is unclear how withholding the identity of the ALJ will impact on decision rates as the opportunities to “judge shop” are limited. To dodge an unfavorable judge for an in person hearing the Request for Hearing would have to be withdrawn. Given the one-year back rule, doing so would cost a winning Claimant thousands of dollars of benefits and add many months to the waiting time.

It is true that representatives can refuse a video hearing and hope for a better judge, but the change doesn’t affect the ability to insist on an in person hearing.

What the change will do is limit the ability to tailor a brief or presentation of the case to the known preferences of a particular judge.

Only time will tell how this will play out.

Call today if you have questions about the Michigan Social Security Disability Attorney and Lawyer Services provided by William Crawforth.

To schedule an appointment call 800-864-1244 or fill out the contact form at the top of this page.

  • State Bar of Michigan
  • Washtenaw County Bar Association
  • National Organization of Social Security Claimants' Representatives

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