SSA Now Publishing Decision Records of All ALJs

Submitted by Chris on

Many applicants used to wonder if getting approved for Social Security Disability benefits at the hearing stage of the appeal process depended on which Administrative Law Judge was hearing a particular disability case. Now that the Social Security Administration is publishing the decision records of all of its Administrative Law Judges, it will be clear whether or not some judges do indeed award more cases than others, and who has a better chance of receiving an award at the hearing stage of the appeal process.

The Social Security Administration recently placed “Public Use Files” on its website for public viewing purposes. These files provide the public with indicators of the productivity of all of the Administrative Law Judges who hear cases for the Social Security Administration. The data is intended to help claimants who are waiting for their Social Security Disability hearings. Prior to this information being published on the Internet, the public could only access these records by filing a Freedom of Information Act request and waiting for the information to come via the mail.

Included in the information that is being provided on the website is the approval and denial information for every Administrative Law Judge who hears disability cases for the Social Security Administration. You can find the ALJ Disposition Data at:

Why is this important to Social Security Disability applicants? The information that is being provided on the website will allow visitors to see a judge's approval rate, denial rate and dismissal rate as well as the difference of that judge's decisions from the national average. For example, if a claimant in Dover, Delaware is notified that Judge Joseph Leary will be hearing the case, he or she can see that Judge Leary has awarded benefits in approximately 63 percent of the cases he has heard, denied approximately 24 percent, and has dismissed approximately 13 percent.

The numbers show that a Social Security Disability applicant who is having a case heard by Judge Leary would have a greater chance of being awarded benefits as a result of his or her hearing than if the case had been assigned to another judge, such as Judge Judith Showalter (who approved approximately 28 percent of her cases) or Judge Melvin Benitz (who approved approximately 28 percent of his cases as well).

Even though some judges award more cases than others, it is important to remember that having your case assigned to a judge with a higher approval rating does not guarantee the success of your Social Security Disability claim. It is still crucial that you work with a qualified disability attorney or advocate and provide as much medical evidence as possible in order to have the best chance of a successful hearing outcome. 

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Blog comments

dav (not verified)

Not all judges are prepared

Not all judges are prepared for hearings. Also some judges don't review all medical evidence given from various doctors.

Also some judge would request the wrong special

Sat, 09/03/2016 - 15:22 Permalink

In reply to by dav (not verified)

Hi Dav,

Hi Dav,
It's true, judges may not prepare enough. In that case, it may be best to contact a disability advocate or attorney, as they can help maximize the chances of winning a case.

Tue, 09/06/2016 - 09:27 Permalink
disabled Ameri… (not verified)

Who's disabled and

Who's disabled and requested a hearing. Got a video hearing where the judge wasn't ready. And been seen by the same doctors by the judge. Then each doctor for the medical witness needs to be changed wasn't there specialty
Then the final doctor the judge brings in the hearing. Agrees that I meet at least one from the list. Then the judge wants to end the hearing quickly

When a dav has various doctors notes and the ssa own questonaire was not reviewed

Sat, 09/03/2016 - 15:42 Permalink

In reply to by disabled Ameri… (not verified)

Hi there,

Hi there,
Thank you for sharing your experience! It's true, sometimes a judge may not be prepared. It may be a good idea to have a disability advocate or attorney by your side in that case.

Tue, 09/06/2016 - 10:49 Permalink

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