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Queens, NY Residents File Suit Claiming Biased Denials of Social Security Disability Claims

The Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) arguably has more subjective power than any other link in the Social Security Disability chain. The system is intentionally designed to allow ALJs a broader ability to use their own judgment during Social Security Disability hearings than other SSA adjudicators. ALJs typically use the HALLEX as a basis for their decisions.

After all, the ALJ is the one person whom the disabled claimant has an opportunity to present his or her case to in person. To others in the disability system, a claimant is little more than a stack of paperwork. Rigid guidelines are used to restrain most adjudicators from being too lenient during the disability claims process. Administrative Law Judges, on the other hand, are allowed and encouraged to consider all pertinent information presented by disability claimants during their hearing.

But what happens when Administrative Law Judges bring their prejudices and preconceived notions to the bench? According to a lawsuit recently brought in Queens, NY, the results are that people who should be qualified for Social Security Disability benefits are denied the help they desperately need.

In most discrimination lawsuits, one expects to hear of racial bias, religious bias or favoritism, or some similar form of overt prejudice. In this case, however, the prejudice is particularly heinous. According to the lawsuit, these ALJs are deliberately and blatantly discriminating against disability claimants based on their level of income. Specifically, claimants who should be qualified are being denied Social Security Disability benefits if they had low income before they applied for disability.

At first glance, this case may seem like sour grapes from people who were denied benefits. That would certainly be understandable. No one likes to be told they don’t qualify for benefits, and the first reaction of many people when they are told “no” is to assume that prejudice is behind the decision. In most cases, it would make sense to give the benefit of the doubt to the ALJs. They are, after all, objective legal professionals. Or, at the very least, they’re supposed to be.

Furthermore, it’s true that the Queens ALJs in question turn down a lot of disability cases. In fact, their denial rates are the highest in the state of New York and the third highest in the entire country. Unfortunately, the approval rates are markedly different for low income claimants than they are for higher income claimants.

It’s truly sad that those who most need the system to work to help them and who are often least likely to reach out for the legal help which is available to them can’t seem to find justice at the hands of the Social Security Administration. Fortunately, Social Security Disability lawyers and disability advocates have taken this case head on and are confronting what appears to be blatant disregard of the SSA’s procedures and policies.

Discrimination has no place in our social structure, and this is especially true of Social Security Disability programs. Administrative Law Judges who blatantly ignore the directive set forth by the SSA to the detriment of any social group must be taken to task. In this case, that appears to be exactly what is happening.

Comments

I'VE BEEN DENIED MY DISABILITY 3 TIMES ALREADY AND FOR THE SAME REASONS.I'VE BEEN DIGNOSED WITH MULTIPUL PROBLEMS AND ALIMENTS.I WAS TOLD BY THE SOCIAL SERCURITY DOCTOR THAT I CAN'T PUSH OR PULL WITH EITHER HAND , I'VE BEEN DIGNOSED WITH LIVER FAILURE, HEP C ,COPD , I'VE HAD RECONSTRUTIVE KNEE SURGERY, CHRONIC BRONCATIST , ARTHRITIST , OBESITY PROBLEMS,OSTEOARTHRITIST,AND I ALSO HAVE TO USE A ASTHMA PUMP TWICE A DAY. PLUS I WAS TOLD THAT I DID'NT QUALIFY FOR MEDICAID BECAUSE I DON'T HAVE A CHILD IN MY HOME UNDER THE AGE OF 19. I'VE WORKED ALL MY LIFE , PLUS PAID MY TAXES FAITHFUL EVERY YEAR AND NOW THAT I NEED MY DISABILTY I CAN'T EVEN GET IT. WHAT I'M I SUPPOSE TOO DO?

my ex husband has been denied three times by a judge, in fort worth texas he constantly rejects doctors claims that my husband is disabled , even the gov doctors that asked to see him. My husband has multiple problems too and is very suicidal .He has been living on his own since 13 and has worked very slave like jobs , such as chopping cotton and roffing, moving jobs etc. He has no money or insurance to see doctors that care about him and when two doctors did see him . The judge dismissed their claims that he had all the time. He tried to go to work to feed himself and got hurt on the job not even three days there. We hate living here and belive these judges are evil they spend more tax dollars locking my ex up than ssi. We have 6 kids and this idiot suggest my husband get a job on the assembly line in Texas with two busted legs, ankle and hip fracture. He can barely move around the house. How could he compete with able bodied men? How could he compete with the influx of illegals working in this state as a disabled man? this judge handed me a death sentance for being poor , disabled, uninsured and colored. This system is currupt. and Judge only helps himself and others like him . We think he is mad Obama got elected .

I'm sorry to hear about your negative experience! If you believe your ex husband is not receiving the benefits he deserves, you should advise him to contact a Social Security Disability attorney. He or she will be able to help your ex husband present thorough and accurate medical information to increase his chances of approval.