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Friday, July 15, 2011

Congressional Hearings Into Social Security Judges That Pay "Too Many" Claims

The Wall Street Journal reported on a July 11, 2011 Congressional hearing into Administrative Law Judges that pay more than 80% of the claims that come before them. In its July 11th online edition, the Journal reported on the testimony of Social Security Commissioner Michael Astrue and others. This story followed an earlier story criticizing one ALJ in West Virginia that approved nearly all of the claims that came before him, prompting the Social Security Administration to suspend the Judge. The average ALJ approves about 60% of the claims that come to a hearing.

Commissioner Astrue testified that Judges that approve over than 80% of claims cost taxpayers over $1 billion per year.

In May, I commented on the Wall Street Journal's previous story, and questioned why Social Security failed to investigate those ALJs that deny nearly all of the claims that come before them. Not that the Commissioner heard me, but he did testify about the ALJs at the more "conservative" end of the spectrum...those that deny more than their fair share.

"Mr. Astrue, a Republican, said the agency was also looking into judges who deny a disproportionate number of claims compared with their peers. He said judges who deny benefits in 80% or more of their cases end up saving taxpayers $200 million each year, though he wasn't suggesting this was a practice he condoned."

According to the Journal, "The number of people receiving disability benefits has soared in recent years, with one of the two Social Security programs paying out $124 billion in benefits to 10.2 million people in 2010. Government estimates predict the Social Security Disability Insurance program will run out of money in 2018 if actions aren't taken to shore up its trust fund."

Credit: Wall Street Journal (link above).

Copyright (c) 2011 by John V. Tucker and Tucker & Ludin, P.A. All rights reserved. For assistance with your Clearwater, St. Petersburg, or Tampa Social Security Disability claim, call Florida Social Security Disability Lawyer John Tucker at (866) 282-5260.

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