Does it Matter Which ALJ Hears Your Disability Case?

Parmele Law FirmSocial Security, Uncategorized

If your Social Security Disability Insurance (“SSDI” or “disability benefits”) claim has been denied, you may want to hire counsel and proceed to hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”).

If that happens and you take your case to hearing, does it matter to your case which ALJ you get?

It may.

Social Security Rules and Regulations.

As you probably know, the SSDI program is a federal program administered by the Social Security Administration (“SSA”). The SSDI program is governed by a number of laws, including federal statutes and agency regulations as well as SSA policies and procedures. The point of all these rules and regulations is to make disability hearings uniform throughout the United States.

In other words, it shouldn’t matter which ALJ hears your case. Ideally, every ALJ would interpret the rules and would apply the facts of a case in the same way.

But is that what really happens in hundreds of disability cases every day across the United States?

Nope.

Reality is quite often very different from the ideal.

Which means that, yes, in many instances it can make a difference which ALJ hears your case.

After all, judges, (even ALJs), are human. They have their own “pet peeves” and their own way of doing things. Some judges are biased against SSDI applicants, some are not. Some are very familiar with the evidence in the exhibit file and others are not. And not all judges have the same outlook on what constitutes “substantial evidence” of disability.

As a result, knowing your judge can go a long way towards achieving a successful outcome— if only because it helps you to avoid doing or saying things that can provoke the ALJ.

Unfortunately, you don’t get to choose your ALJ. But you can choose your disability attorney. Experienced disability counsel will be familiar with the judges in your area and will know what to expect from your ALJ and can prepare for it. This is one reason why it is always a good idea to have experienced disability counsel represent you.

Social Security Disability Attorneys in Kansas, Missouri, Illinois and Oklahoma.

We are Social Security attorneys with offices throughout Missouri, Kansas, Illinois, and in several cities in Oklahoma. Social Security law is all we do. We are passionate about getting our clients the benefits they deserve. We offer free consultations and we do not get paid unless you win your case. Contact us today to or connect with us on  LinkedIn.