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Increase in social security disability hearing denials by ALJs

In recent years, social security disability attorneys have been dismayed by the social security disability program being under attack. Led by Oklahoma Senator Tom Colburn, media sources such as 60 minutes and PBS have circulated biased accounts of fraudulent Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) claims. The number of Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) denials at the hearing level, in turn, have increased nationwide. Approval rates dropped from 62 percent in 2010 to 48 percent in 2013 according to the National Association of Social Security Representatives (NOSSCR). In the Atlanta area, some of the ALJs, who arrived in the past couple years, have approval rates in the 20 to 35 percent range. www.ssa.gov/appeals/DataSets/03_ALJ_Disposition_Data.html

As ALJs have denied more claims, the number of appeals of hearing denials to the Appeals Council (AC) increased 6 percent in 2013, as noted by NOSSCR. Requests for review of ALJ denials to the Appeals Council had the following outcomes in 2013: 78 percent were denied; 4 percent were dismissed; and only 17 percent were remanded (sent back to the ALJ for another hearing) due to errors at the hearing and/or in the decision rendered. After the Appeals Council denies a Request for Review, an attorney must file a Complaint in US District Court. Then, the attorney must write a brief and, sometimes, attend an oral argument before the Magistrate Judge.

Unlike most firms, the Law office of Kathleen M Flynn, LLC does not drop a client after the ALJ denies the claim. Our firm continues to appeal the case to fight for our client. Once a case is filed in US District Court, our firm may also file a new application, as permitted by the Social Security Administration (SSA). Call the Law office of Kathleen M Flynn, LLC at 404-479-4431 if you would like assistance with filing an application or appeal. Also, please visit our website at www.kathleenflynnlaw.com to learn more about us.

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