Overview of Disability

Disability Back Pay

Disability Requirements

Disability Applications

Disability Advice Tips

How long do cases take?

How to win Disability

SSD Mistakes to avoid

Disability for Mental

What if you get denied?

How to file Appeals

Disability through SSA

SSI Disability Benefits

Disability for Children

How do I qualify for it?

Working and Disability

Disability Award Notice

Disability Lawyer Q&A

Disability Conditions List

What is a disability?

Your Medical Evidence

Filing for your Disability

Disability Eligibility

SSD SSI Definitions

Recent Questions

SSDRC Disability Blog

It is worth it to have your disability case heard by a Judge

There are, no doubt, many thousands of stories out there about disability judges who were terse, rude, judgmental (no pun intended) and who simply made bad decisions on claims brought before them.

However, the fact remains: every claimant who goes before an ALJ has been denied on an initial Social Security Disability or SSI claim and on a first appeal. And roughly half of all claims that are taken to disability hearings...are won by claimants and their representatives. Because of this, I think it is reasonable to say that the ALJ (administrative law judge) serves as an equalizer, of sorts

When I was a disability examiner, we used to speak about the great differences in approval rates; that is, cases approved at DDS and cases approved at hearings offices. Unfortunately, most examiners were of the mind that ALJs approved far too many claims (which reconsideration-level disability examiners had denied).

However, the examiners who thought this way suffered from tunnel vision. They were unable to view the system in ways other than those related to their job function. The truth is, how you look at a disability claim and how you look at the person filing the claim probably depends a great deal on whether you actually meet the person.

Disability examiners do not meet the individuals whose claims they are deciding. Disability judges do. To an examiner, a claimant is a file, a job, a performance statistic for one's annual evaluation. And to some extent, this may be true of judges. But judges meet the individuals whose fate they decide. And because of this, for at least a few minutes, the file has a face.

Remember, disability evaluation is not an objective process. It is subjective and statements to the contrary are wishful thinking at best, and lies at worst---if it was objective, judges would not be overturning so many prior denials.

Return to:  Social Security Disability Resource Center, or read answers to Questions

Related pages:

Will a Social Security Judge give You an Immediate Decision at the Disability Hearing?
How Long Does It Take To Go Before A Judge For Disability Benefits?
Scheduled for a disability hearing before an administrative law judge
What Percentage Of Social Security Disability or SSI Cases Does A Judge Deny?
How long does a disability judge have to make a decision?

Information on the following topics can be found here: Social Security Disability Questions and in these subsections:

Frequently asked questions about getting Denied for Disability Benefits | FAQ on Disability Claim Representation | Info about Social Security Disability Approvals and Being Approved | FAQ on Social Security Disability SSI decisions | The SSD SSI Decision Process and what gets taken into consideration | Disability hearings before Judges | Medical exams for disability claims | Applying for Disability in various states | Selecting and hiring Disability Lawyers | Applying for Disability in North Carolina | Recent articles and answers to questions about SSD and SSI

These pages provide answers to basic questions about pursuing disability benefits

Disability qualifications - Who will qualify is based on functional limitations
What do you Need to Prove to Qualify for Disability Benefits?
How to file for disability and the information needed by Social Security
What conditions do they Award Disability Benefits for?
How does back pay for Social Security disability work?
What makes you eligible for Social Security Disability or SSI? Part I
To get a Social Security Disability or SSI Award do you have to have a Permanent Disability?
Social Security Disability Status - when should I call to check
Do Lawyers Improve The Chances of Winning Social Security Disability or SSI?
What is qualifying for disability based on?
How to qualify for disability - The Process of Qualifying for Benefits
Receiving a Social Security Disability Award Letter
How long does it take to get disability?
Filing and applying for disability in Texas