As most residents of Boone County, Missouri, are already aware, many if not most SSD claims for disability benefits will get denied at the outset and will therefore end in the applicant's appeal to an administrative law judge for a hearing.
A recent report prepared by the Government Accountability Office suggested that the likely outcomes of these administrative appeals varies widely from judge to judge. On average, around two-thirds of those who appeal their denial of benefits wind up getting them through an administrative law judge. However, success rates can range from over 90 percent to as low as under 40 percent.
The report suggested that this inconsistency has gotten better over the years. The report suggested that the Administration had in recent years initiated some quality control measures to assure more consistent results in the hearing process and had also invested more energy in to the training of administrative law judges.
The report also noted that an applicant who had an advocate, such as an attorney or other representative, was much more likely, three times in fact, to get awarded benefits after their administrative appeals than were people who represented themselves.
On the other hand, there was simply no indication that administrative law judges were allowing benefits simply to clear cases off of their busy and backlogged dockets.
Like everyone else who decides legal matters, Social Security judges are human and, as such, may have certain perspectives which other judges just do not share. Some or more generous than others when it comes to awarding benefits, and applicants simply need to be prepared to deal with this circumstance. On the other hand, Missourians should remember that it seems this report supports the notion that an attorney can help a person get SSD benefits.