Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) Frye Discusses Problems with Disability Program

by Joshua Eyestone on July 15, 2012 · 0 comments

in Social Security Hearings,Disability News

“Don’t blame the judges!”  This is the message from ALJ Frye, the president of the powerful Social Security judge union.  The judge’s are under pressure by recent press stories that make it sound like there is a big spike in claimants being awarded disability benefits.  As you can see by Frye’s comments to congress the ALJs are trying to get the pressure off their back.

Here’s the article:

Administrative law judge speaks to Congress on disability system

Most Oregon residents who have first-hand experience with the Social Security Administration’s appeals process for denied Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income claims would likely agree that the system could be better. In fact, similar sentiments were recently expressed by the president of the Association of Administrative Law Judges in testimony submitted to Congress.

According to the Hon. D. Randall Frye, critics of the current system miss the mark in most cases, and particularly when they blame ALJs for the Social Security Disability system’s shortcomings.

One major issue, Frye says, stems largely from the huge backlog of disability appeals, which has caused the SSA to place “far too much emphasis on numerical performance rather than on correct judicial decision making” in recent years. The SSA currently recommends that judges spend no more than 2 1/2 hours on a case and expects its ALJs to issue between 500 and…”

ALJs are very busy people, and they should certainly be given time by the agency to make the correct decision in each case they review.  Any standards that estimate time per case are obvious attempts by the administration to control the judge’s time per case which shouldn’t be tolerated.

Disability decisions affect the lives of working Americans and their dependents.  If your life depended on a fair and complete review of your case wouldn’t you want to know the judge was carefully and completely reviewing your file?  Americans deserve ALJs who are not rushed, and who are free from pressure from external forces like the recent anti disability program media reports.

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