Over the past few months, there have been a lot of stories of misconduct by administrative law judges (ALJ) and the agency in general with respect to wait time and claims handling procedures. We have also seen the chief judge who is charge of the ALJ has resigned and will be stepping down before the end of this year, according to a statement she has released. However, it should be noted that there has been no official link between her resignation and the complaints facing the United States Social Security Administration (SSA), though based upon the timing alone, many are speculating that the two are related.
As if this was not bad enough for the agency, an ALJ in Georgia has now been accused of bullying disabled workers at the agency, according to a recent news report from NBC News 11. If true, this is particularly disturbing because it is ALJ’s job to hear from disabled claimant and decide whether they are entitled to benefits.
The new allegation came from multiple disabled employees who have worked for this particular ALJ. Some of this alleged bullying included refusing to believe that his coworkers were actually disabled. As a result of his accusations that there were faking their disabilities, he refused to make reasonable accommodations to help his coworkers, as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ABA). This is all according to allegations made by his coworkers.
One of these workers was involved in a serious car accident and was unable to walk without the assistance of two canes, as she was required to undergo two hip surgeries. In addition to somehow not believing she was actually injured, he allegedly harassed her about having to go to the doctor and said she was trying to leave work for an inappropriate reason. She said she went to the judge and told him that she felt she was discriminated against, but her only recourse was to speak with the person whom she believed was the one harassing her and that was an untenable situation to be in.
As our Boston disability benefits attorneys have seen in many cases, it is not surprising that an ALJ who works for SSA is biased against those who have a disability. We see that in the vast majority of cases, the judge is more interested in rejecting an application than he or she is in finding a fair result.
With this in mind, the best thing you can do is to make sure you have an experienced disability benefits lawyer on your side who is willing to fight for your rights to a full and appropriate award of benefits. It is also important to gather all medical records and other necessary information when speaking with your attorney. Many people try to start these cases themselves and then get their applications rejected only to be in a rush later to file for reconsideration. For this reason, it is best to have someone on your side as early in the process as possible to increase the chances you will be awarded benefits earlier in the process.
If you or a loved one is seeking Social Security Disability Insurance in Boston, call for a free and confidential appointment at 1-888-367-2900.
Judge accused of bullying disabled employees, By Andy Pierrotti, NBC News 11
More Blog Entries:
Worker Taxed Thousands for Social Security Disability Benefits He Never Received, June 21, 2016, Boston SSDI Lawyer Blog