In the past, we have blogged about how critics of the Social Security Administration often like to raise the argument that administrative law judges (ALJs) are too lenient during the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) appeals process.
As we have mentioned in these posts, there have been issues with specific ALJs who have drawn heavy scrutiny because they have “decided an unusually large number of cases and awarded an unusually high number of benefits.”
However, these ALJs remain a small minority of those making decisions. A report last year by the SSA’s inspector general found that there were 44 ALJs over the course of seven years who decided an unusually high number of cases—but these judges only accounted for 4 percent of the agency’s allotment of ALJs.
With this in mind, recently the SSA began to publish information on its website about specific ALJs, including statistics about approval rates. You can view the information, which includes statistics leading up to February 2015, by clicking here.
Keep in mind, only 58 percent of applicants who appeal decisions actually receive SSDI awards. The process of obtaining benefits or appealing a decision is complex, so having legal representation may prove to be important in your case.
Speaking to an Attorney about Social Security Benefits
It is good that the SSA is transparent about ALJ decisions. Our attorneys hope that this will lead to improvements in public discussion about how difficult the appeals process actually is.
If you are interested in applying for SSDI or if you have questions about the process, you can visit our FAQ page. Remember, you have 60 days to file an appeal if your SSDI application has been denied and not reconsidered, which will result in a hearing with an ALJ.
At this point, evidence is reviewed and an ALJ will determine if you are eligible for benefits. Having representation at this stage can prove to be incredibly important in the outcome of an ALJ’s decision. We have witnessed instances where people trying to appeal a decision without representation have continually been denied benefits.
Troutman & Troutman, P.C. – Tulsa Social Security disability attorneys