Social Security Disability Claims and Secrecy
Recently, the Social Security Administration has begun keeping the name of Administrative Law Judges (ALJ) a secret until the day of the Social Security Disability hearing. The ALJ’s name is not released to the attorney, claimant or any experts. Prior to this practice, the name of the ALJ was released with the Notice of Hearing which provides the date, time, and location of the hearing.
Knowing the name of the ALJ allows the claimant’s attorney to prepare the claim according to the preferences of the ALJ. All ALJ’s have different approaches to hearings and evaluating cases. Since the ALJ’s name is now not released before the date of the hearing, the Social Security Disability attorney must have a more general approach since he/she might have a hearing before any ALJ in the hearing office.
Many ALJ’s disagree with this policy. In fact the President of the Association of Administration Law Judges recently testified before Congress that judges “believe the Notice of Hearing should include all relevant information, not only the issues to be heard, but also other information such as the time, date and place of the hearing and the name of the assigned judges.”
A major organization composed of claimant’s representatives has criticized the withholding of the ALJ’s name because, in doing so, a government agency is keeping a secret from parties affected be the ALJ’s decision. Indeed, secrecy practiced by a government agency has no place in a democracy.
Despite criticism, the Social Security Administration continues to keep the ALJ’s name secret. This tactic is designed to make presenting a Social Security Disability claim more difficult. An experienced Social Security Disability lawyer has the knowledge and experienced to present a claim to any ALJ.
If you are a disabled individual get the Social Security Disability help you deserve by having an experienced Social Security Disability attorney.