Are Social Security Judges Getting Disability & SSI Applications Wrong? Yes – In 6 Out of 10 Cases, According to One Report.

According to a Washington Post Report, Federal Judges Have Found Fault With 60 Percent of the Social Security Disability Appeals They Review

The process of applying for Social Security Disability benefits and Supplemental Security Income is a very long one and can take two years from the time you apply until you get a decision from an Administrative Law Judge. After waiting that long, one expects, or at least hopes, that the ALJ makes the right decision. However, in the last two years, the federal courts have found fault with almost six in every ten ALJ denials!

This is how the application process works:

  1. Submit your initial application for disability benefits. 62% of applications are denied;
  2. If your application is denied, then apply for reconsideration. 85% of reconsideration applications are denied;
  3. If reconsideration is denied, then request a hearing before an ALJ where you can testify and submit medical reports. 50% of applications are denied or dismissed;
  4. If the ALJ denies your benefits, then you can appeal to the Social Security Appeals Council. The Council affirms 84% of ALJ decisions; and
  5. Appeal to federal court. 6 out of 10 cases are sent back for a new hearing before the ALJ.

A recent Washington Post article reported: “In the last two fiscal years, federal judges considering appeals for denied benefits found fault with almost 6 in every 10 cases and sent them back to administrative law judges at Social Security for new hearings — the highest rate of rejections in years, agency statistics show. Court remands are on pace to reach similar levels this year.” This number potentially could be much higher because most people do not even appeal to federal court as they do not have the time or resources to keep fighting. Fewer than 20% of people who lose before the ALJ file an appeal with federal court.

Lots of Mistakes Mean Lots of Social Security and SSI Applicants Are Wrongly Denied Disability Benefits

Federal judges have found “legal errors, inaccurate assessments of whether claimants can work, failures to consider medical evidence and factual mistakes.” This high rate of rejections is caused by “stringent monthly quotas set by Social Security officials and growing pressure to deny more cases…” Some ALJs contend they were fired because they approved too many cases. Unfortunately, even when the case is sent back, sometimes the ALJ will still deny benefits—forcing the claimant to go through the appeals process yet again and prolong his/her benefits.

The system is flawed, but we are here to help you navigate through the process. Our office represents individuals seeking Social Security Disability and Supplemental Security Income benefits. We work closely with you and provide the ALJ with as much information as possible to ensure you get the benefits you deserve. You can call our office at (610) 446-3457 or click here to send an email to set up a consultation with one of our attorneys. We will explain the process, guide you and fight to get and keep the benefits you need.