Every claimant who is denied at hearing by an ALJ has the right to appeal that decision to the Appeals Council, which is a basic safeguard of every claimant’s due process rights. Unfortunately, data released by the Social Security Administration reveals that the number of successful appeals has plummeted over the past eight years.
ALJ Newsletter Compares Hearing Offices to “Sweatshops,” Describes Relationship With ODAR Management as “Acrimonious”
In August of 2015, the Association of Administrative Law Judges sent a letter detailing a litany of complaints about ALJ workload and morale in hearing offices around the country. The letter began by describing the deterioration in working conditions in the hearing offices over the past several years in very stark language, and got more pointed from there.
Long wait times experienced by claimants waiting to have their cases resolved due to underfunding and understaffing at the Social Security Administration are still a problem, and this deal should improve the situation.
Social Security has recently amended its regulations to require that claimants and their representatives in a Social Security disability claim must submit all evidence, whether helpful or not, that relates to whether a person may or may not be disabled.
In Washington, D.C. this month (August, 2015) there was a renewed focus on the debate over the future of Social Security funding, as congressional Republicans consider a new set of proposals which seek to avert looming fiscal shortfalls in the disability program. Previous posts have detailed other potential plans to shore up the program’s finances, including raising the current cap on FICA taxes, reducing benefits, or transferring funds from the social security retirement trust fund into the disability trust fund to make up for the shortfall. The last option, referred to as an ‘inter-fund [...]
While Social Security continues to provide vital economic support to millions of disabled and retired individuals, children, and widows, there are long-term funding concerns which need to be addressed to keep the program fiscally sound for generations to come.
After the crash of 2008, the unemployment rate in the United States spiked to levels not seen since the Great Depression. Around the same time, the number of individuals applying for Social Security Disability benefits also began climbing - but was there a connection?
The union representing the ALJ’s argued in its lawsuit that this number of cases represents an illegal quota that violated the Judge’s independence and the due process rights of applicants.