The Office of Disability Adjudication and Review, one of the largest administrative judicial systems in the world, administers Social Security Disability hearings and appeals. There are over 140 Offices of Disability Adjudication and Review (ODAR) across the country, and over 1,100 administrative law judges conduct appeals hearings in these offices. ODAR conducts hearings regarding Social Security Disability benefits under SSDI and SSI as well as retirement and survivors benefits. Its Appeals Council reviews the decisions made by the administrative law judges as well as decisions of the judges that are appealed by claimants.
ODAR is made up of the Office of the Chief Administrative Law Judge and the Office of Appellate Operations.
The Office of the Chief Administrative Law Judge oversees the activities of 10 regional offices, 161 hearing offices, five national hearing centers, and two national case assistance centers at which over 700,000 decisions are made each year at the hearing level.
The Office of Appellate Operations includes the Appeals Council and its support staff. The Appeals Council is made up of 100 administrative appeals judges and appeals officers. The Appeals Council makes the final decision in almost 90,000 cases annually.
ODAR also has three administrative support offices that support its operations. Those are:
- The Office of Budget, Facilities, and Security which is responsible for the budget, physical plants, and security.
- The Office of Electronic Services and Strategic Information which is responsible for providing technology support, electronic services, and management information; and
- The Office of Executive Operations and Human Resources which is responsible for the training and development of staff, provides information on labor and employee relations issues, and provides outside parties with information as requested.
This office becomes quite important to a person whose application for Social Security disability benefits has been denied since the majority of applications for Social Security disability benefits go to the appeals level.