Was I treated unfairly by the judge at my disability hearing?

How do you know if you have been treated unfairly by an ALJ?

That's a good question. Some ALJs are known to be rude and condescending. But that doesn't necessarily coincide with unfairness. To me, unfairness translates to the judge not rendering a decision that is in accordance with the medical and vocational documentation when the evidence is fairly strong and clear.

Judges know that that if they issue a denial and the claimant's representative takes issue with it, it will likely be appealed to the appeals council. If the AC finds that evidence was improperly considered, or that there was a technical error of some type, a remand may result and the judge would end up hearing the case again. Judges have enough cases that they don't want to see the same case twice.

Back to your original question, I would say that since rudeness is not necessarily the same as unfairness, you probably need to get the opinion of the disability representative, attorney or non-attorney, who went to the hearing with you. In the end, it will come down to filing the next appeal or not.

About the Author: Tim Moore is a former Social Security Disability Examiner in North Carolina, has been interviewed by the NY Times and the LA Times on the disability system, and is an Accredited Disability Representative (ADR) in North Carolina. For assistance on a disability application or Appeal in NC, click here.

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