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SSA judge says system may need changes

As anyone with disability qualifying conditions who have applied for benefits with the Social Security Administration can likely tell you, there are some glaring flaws in the system. D. Randall Frye, an administrative law judge for the SSA, wrote in an editorial for The New York Times that there are many inefficiencies in the system that he believes can be improved upon.

One thing that needs to change is proper representation for both sides. While claimants can and should bring an attorney to most types of disability hearings, he said “the taxpayers have no advocate on their behalf to ask questions, challenge medical evidence or review the 500 to 700 pages of materials that make up an typical case file.”

Another change he said needs to be made is a leader with judicial experience. Currently, he said the SSA is run by an acting commissioner and what he calls “unelected bureaucrats” who are concerned about how many cases each judge can see. Randall goes as far as to ask President Barack Obama to appoint a permanent leader who has experience in the field.

“The system needs to be made more trustworthy and fully transparent,” he wrote, adding that he does not believe the actions of the few who have tried to defraud the system should not ruin SSA for those who truly need it.

While most of the administrative law judges who are employed to hear disability cases do the best they can to be fair, they are not an independent judiciary. This may make them feel undue pressure from the managers of the SSA to process cases more strictly than the law provides.

Judges are expected to protect the federal government’s resources from non=meritorious cases. They are also expected to be fair to the claimants, which can be a difficult job. The answer to this problem might be the formation of an independent administrative law judge system that would truly be neutral and not burdened by non-judicial agency managers.

In any event, the Law Offices of Harold W. Conick & Associates are skilled trial attorneys who are able to present evidence and persuasive legal arguments. This will help claimants successfully obtain decisions regardless of any flaws in the Social Security Administrative law judicial system.