Do you think Social Security is working too fast processing Social Security disability claims. Someone apparently thinks so. Writing in the Wall Street Journal, Damian Paletta reports:
Social Security judges and employees in Florida, Alabama, Colorado, Georgia, Tennessee, Ohio and Arizona were among those instructed to set aside disability cases this week, with the slowdown allowing managers to boost their performance numbers for the coming fiscal year, which starts Monday.
Top officials, in a bid to meet goals to win promotions or thousands of dollars in bonuses, directed many employees to refrain from issuing decisions on cases until next week, according to judges and union officials.
How did Social Security judges respond? Continue reading Social Security told to slow down decisions?
I was recently asked the following question:
The judge at my husband’s hearing said she was going to approve him. She said she would get his letter to him in the next 2 or 3 weeks, but NO letter yet.
Since she approved him during his hearing when will his benefits start?
Continue reading Social Security Judge Told Me She Approved My Disability Case
I was recently asked what it meant that the Administrative Law Judge did not have a Vocational Expert (VE) testify at an individual’s Social Security hearing.
What happens when the administrative law judge does not call the vocational expert to the hearing. Why would the judge do that?
Well, I can’t tell you “why” the judge didn’t have VE. Some judges use VEs all the time, others do not. A VE provides evidence (testimony) about steps 4 & 5 of the sequential evaluation process. Continue reading Is a Social Security disability hearing without a Vocational Expert a bad sign?
Even though it often takes a year or even two years to get your Social Security hearing, you may find that you are not ready when the big day finally comes.
Is there any way to continue, postpone, or delay my Social Security hearing?
Yes. You can request a continuance to postpone your hearing.
Lets look at how to do this:
Continue reading How to postpone a Social Security hearing?
If you are keeping in touch with the Office of Disability Adjudication and Review (ODAR) which is preparing your case for hearing, you may be told that your case has finally been assigned to an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ).
However, ODAR may not tell you is how much longer it will take to get a hearing date, now that your case has been assigned to a Judge. So, how long after your case is assigned to a judge will it take to get a hearing? Continue reading How long to a hearing after my case is assigned to a judge ?
Gordon Gates writes about how he tries to make each case different and memorable when preparing to go to hearing.
I am always concerned that a particular claim will not get the attention it deserves at the hearing level, due to the tremendous workload at the Social Security hearing offices. Each administrative law judge decides several hundred claims every year…
I have an upcoming hearing with a client who has an unusual story. The medical evidence is very good, and the claim should be granted at hearing. Nevertheless, I am spending a great deal of time on the claimant’s story…, because it is so unusual. That story will be the hook that draws the judge into the case.
I agree completely! Continue reading Making your Social Security disability case stand out!
Social Security attorney Gordon Gates wrote about a Social Security Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) who only approves 11 percent of cases.
In trying to find some insight in to how this ALJ could only approve 11% of cases when most other ALJs approve somewhere between 45-60% of cases, Gordon found the following post from the ALJ on a high profile public website:
Some doctors go overboard on diagnoses and treatment because they sense the “pot of gold” in having a fairly young patient on Medicare for many years to come with a reliable source of payment for constant treatment.
Lawyers and other non-attorney representative can receive fees as a percentage of the back benefits awarded to a claimant. Once a claimant has a legal representative, one can actually track how the alleged impairments become much worse, with new impairments and symptoms added as the case matures.
A judge with some experience can almost recite verbatim the same story we hear from virtually EVERY claimant, suggesting they have received training from the national organization of the claimants attorneys. The government is complicit in this boondoggle, because the Social Security Administration actually publishes lists of symptoms for various impairments in the form of rules for judges to follow. Is it any wonder we hear those lists of symptoms at almost every hearing?
The Judge’s quote is quite lengthy and covers a number of topics. I encourage you to read it in Gordon’s article: The 11 Percent ALJ.
While I can agree with the Judge on several points in the longer quote, I strongly disagree with what the Judge says above.
Let’s set ’em up and knock ’em down! Continue reading Gordon Gates on “the 11 Percent ALJ”
The long wait times in Social Security cases are prompting a backlash against Administrative Law Judges (ALJs) in Social Security cases.
Across the country, it takes an average of 480 days to get a judge’s ruling on a Social Security disability claim ”” but 650 days if your case is in Portland.
The problems in Portland reflect a broader national crisis, according to Social Security Administration records … Only about half the agency’s administrative law judges meet its minimum goal of clearing 500 cases a year.
Continue reading Long Social Security hearing delays? “Blame the judges!”
How likely is your judge to approve your Social Security disability case? Better that 50%? Isn’t this information you want to know before you walk into your hearing? Now this information is a click away! Continue reading Social Security Judges’ denial percentages
One of the most common complaints I hear is:
I hired a lawyer for my hearing. So, WHY AM I DOING ALL OF THE TALKING?!?
The one thing people are most surprised about when they go to their Social Security disability hearing is that the lawyer does not do all of the talking. In fact, it is the claimant (aka “you”) who has to answer the Judge’s questions. I hear a lot of questions and comments about this:
I went to my hearing and my lawyer sat there like a bump on a log.
Why am I paying a lawyer, if I have to answer all of the questions?
What do you mean, I have to talk at the hearing; isn’t that what the lawyer is there for?
Continue reading Lawyer did nothing at my Social Security hearing!