Sunday, 27 January 2013

Bias Settlement Could Give Social Security Applicants Chance for New Hearings


Disability applicants and Alabama Social Security lawyers know that claims denials and delays are very frequent.  As part of a settlement between the Social Security Administration and a group of plaintiffs with debilitating medical conditions who claimed that their applications for Social Security were unfairly denied, these plaintiffs may get another chance at claims hearings.
The settlement came between thousands of plaintiffs in New York, who claimed in their lawsuit that they had been subjected to hostility and bias in their claims.  The allegations were made against 5 administrative law judges in Queens, New York.  The Queens Social Security office has a reputation for one of the highest claims denial rates in the country.  According to some data, close to 50 percent of the claims filed between 2005 and 2009, were denied. 
The lawsuit alleged that the judges frequently belittled the debilitating conditions that the applicants suffered, and made fun of them.  The applicants were insulted, and were submitted to very harsh questioning by the judges. 
Under the terms of the settlement, thousands of plaintiffs who had their claims denied or partially rejected by at least one of the 5 administrative law judges named in the lawsuit, could be entitled to new hearings.  As many as 4,000 applicants are expected to benefit from new hearings.
As part of the agreement, the Social SecurityAdministration has agreed to the recertification and retraining of all 5 administrative law judges who had been mentioned in their lawsuit.  Further, the Social Security Administration will also monitor the decisions made by these judges to track any signs of misconduct. The Social Security Administration has also agreed to enact new anti-discrimination policies to prevent such outrages in the future.