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What Causes Some Disability Judges to Approve More Cases Than Others?

The Social Security Administration’s regulations governing the Hearing process are the same from coast to coast. Certainly, they are the same in Hearing Room A as they are in Hearing Room B of each individual hearing office. Yet, a casual reading of Judge’s approval ratings (the best place to view these ratings is disabilityjudges.com) reveals the approval ratings of Judges vary, sometimes quite dramatically. The current national approval rate has held steady for almost 4 years at around 43% (people represented by Keller & Keller win at a much higher rate), yet some judges “pay” 60% of their claims and others 20%. There is an entire office from Chicago which somehow only allows 30% of cases.

No one knows exactly what accounts for why some Administrative Law Judges pay few cases while others pay more, but after years of experience with various judges, I can say the main difference is empathy. Some ALJ’s can imagine what a claimant’s life must be like. Some never believe a word any claimant says. In fact, some of these latter ALJ’s will choose to emphasize facts which harm a claimant’s case in their Decision, while ignoring important points in the claimant’s favor.

Attorneys Have No Say In Which Judge Is Assigned Your Case

The ALJ assigned to your case is picked randomly and the attorney you choose has no real power to pick a good empathetic judge instead of a skeptical, denial-oriented, unfair judge. But, the attorney you pick can have make a huge difference in how the hearing goes and what happens afterwards. My job is to prepare a theory of why a reasonable ALJ will find you disabled. Often times, in front of good, rigorous, logical ALJ’s, I do not have to say much. Other times, in front of an unreasonable ALJ, nothing I say at that moment changes a mind. But, here at Keller & Keller, we do not stop preparing or fighting just because your judge is difficult. I prepare your case for appeal from the moment we meet and I continue that process throughout the Hearing. I always prepare for the worst news, so I can be pleasantly surprised by good news.

Keller & Keller’s Disability Attorneys Fight For You

Here at Keller & Keller, we have an entire department dedicated to appealing careless and wrong decisions. We do not stop fighting for good cases ruined by the few bad ALJ’s. If necessary, we take them to Federal Court (some times more than once), and we do not stop until the Social Security Administration makes a reasonable finding on a reasonable case. Our tenacity and expertise start the moment you call.

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