Most of our Social Security disability clients are surprised to learn how great an impact the random selection of the Administrative Law Judge might have on their claims. You might assume that across the nation, or at least within each state, the approval and denial rates of judges would be within a relatively narrow range. In other words the percentage of claimants who win their cases at the hearing level would be roughly the same, regardless of which judge was involved. Wrong!
The facts are found at DisabilityJudges.com. Here is a statement from the site: The Office of Disability Adjudication and Review (ODAR) conducts Social Security Disability (SSD) hearings and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) hearings in 8 different offices in Texas. Currently, in Texas, the average wait time for a SSI or SSD hearing is 8.8 months. The average case processing time in Texas is 293 days.The Texas average for winning a disibility hearing is 38%.
But just within the two hearing offices in Dallas, the approval rates vary from 77% for one judge to an astounding 2% for another judge. So in the same city one Administrative Law Judge believes that more than 3/4 of the claimants he sees deserves benefits, while another judge believes that only two out of every 100 claimants he sees deserve benefits. What a crazy system. And so unfair for claimants, and for the attorneys who represent them.