ALJs Testify Before Congressional Committee Over SSDI Approval Rates

According to the Associated Press, four Social Security judges defended their work last week before the House Oversight Committee after they were accused of “rubber stamping” claims for disability benefits and approving billions of dollars in payments for citizens.

The news outlet reported that each of the judges approved more than 90 percent of the cases they heard from 2005 to 2013. House Republicans say that the approval rates are a good indicator that the judges were not following proper procedures when it came to Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefit hearings.

“In essence, these judges rubber stamped nearly every claimant before them for a lifetime of benefits at taxpayer expense,” a report from Republicans said, according to the AP.

One judge in written testimony, Gerald I. Krafsur of Kingsport, Tennessee, said that he had heard thousands of cases and never had one overturned, because the applicant was not disabled, the AP reported.

From 2005 to 2013, Krafsur approved 99 percent of the cases he decided, Republicans said. With lifetime benefits averaging about $300,000 per person, Republicans estimated that Krafsur’s approvals could total nearly $2.5 billion in benefits.

Interestingly, a Democratic report says oversight and training for the agency’s 1,400 judges has improved over the past decade. According to Democratic reports, judges are approving claims at their lowest rates in years. In 2013, judges approved 56 percent of the cases they decided, down from 72 percent in 2005.

According to the AP, as of last month, nearly 11 million people received SSDI, a 45 percent increase from 10 years ago.

Am I Eligible for Social Security Disability?

As we have previously reported, the public should expect political debates this summer over Social Security benefits due to the election cycle heating up. When you hear reports about SSDI, keep in mind that to qualify for benefits, you need to have earned work credits.

For further information on qualifications, we suggest you visit our FAQ page.

If you have questions about applying for SSDI benefits, contact a Tulsa Social Security disability attorney. We offer free evaluations of your case. Contact us today to learn more about your rights.

Troutman & Troutman, P.C. – Tulsa Social Security disability lawyers

Troutman Touts: The average monthly SSDI benefit for a disabled worker is $1,146.


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