Posted: April 1, 2013
Cincinnati, Ohio 4/1/3013 News Flash
The year long practice of keeping the name secret of the Social Security Disability Judge that would hear your disability claim appeal has been rescinded. This practice started mysteriously, the rationale was never fully articulated , and just as mysteriously has come to an end.
The National Organization of Social Security Claimant's Representatives ( NOSSCR ), of which I am a member, just sent me an email in that regard. This policy was thought to have been put in place because of allegations of Judge shopping. Something that I never knew that could be done and I know of no representative lawyer who did this.
However this was implicated when the United States Senate put wording in a bill report 112-1176, fiscal 2013. Part of the rationale was the declination of a video hearing. I guess if you knew the Judge and liked him you would decline a video hearing of a judge you were not as sure of. The committee stated in part:
" The Committee directs SSA to submit a report to the Committee on Appropriations of the Senate no later than November 1, 2012, detailing the type and scope of abuse under the previous policy and alternative policies that were considered or could otherwise be less intrusive."
This policy was strongly attacked by social security lawyers. In fact, many had used the federal freedom of information act to get the name of the Judge. Why is this important you may wonder? Each judge has their own peculiarities as to what they wanted to see in a case. While the standard for granting disability benefits is always the same, " the inability to perform any gainful employment for one full year" the facts or witness that each judge saw as crucial to be presented could vary .
Some judges liked to see third parties verify the claimant's story and testify at the hearing. Some judges did not see this as critical. Some judges would pay great attention to a pre-hearing memorandum of counsel setting out the critical facts and legal issues. Other judges would not pay it as much attention.
Of significant importance was preparation of the claimant. Each Judge has there own way of questioning the claimant. Some just look for answers to questions the record has not revealed. others seek to see if the claimant will overstate their case or conratadict the record of their prior statement to harpoon the claimant's credibility.
Nancy Schorr executive director of NOSSCR got the email this morning which stated in pertinent part:
- Beginning on April 20, the agency will resume disclosing the name of the ALJ assigned to a hearing when it sends out a Notice of Hearing. (Note: Under our rules, we must send out this Notice at least twenty days before the hearing, but typically we send it out 60-90 days prior to the hearing.)
About Anthony Castelli
Anthony is an Ohio lawyer that has practiced social security disability as well as personal injury law for over 32 years. His video, 3 Critical mistakes that can Ruin Your Social Security Claim has over 58,000 views. He invites you to call him at 1-800-447-6549 for a free consultation if you live in Ohio and have questions about social security disability.
National Organization of Social Security Claimant's Representatives