Oct 23, 2012

Weird Online Accusations

     There is an online "op ed" making allegations about impropriety at Social Security. There is little factual information in this piece.
     The piece includes a breathless report that Social Security Commissioner Michael Astrue will not be re-appointed once his term runs out in January 2013 because of misconduct at Social Security. There is nothing in the piece that even hints at anything that Astrue has done wrong. In any case, Astrue has said he does not want to be re-appointed and there's every reason to take him at his word since six years in that job should be enough for anyone, especially in this budget climate. It's rather unlikely that Mitt Romney would have considered the question of whom to nominate to be Social Security Commissioner if he is elected. He's too busy trying to get elected. I hope President Obama's staff, at least, has been working on this question. It's rather unlikely that Obama would try to persuade Astrue to stay on since the AFL-CIO, which represents most Social Security employees, is no fan of Michael Astrue, to say the least and Obama has every reason to listen to the AFL-CIO since it is working hard to get him re-elected.
     The "op ed" includes the statement that:
New evidence has reportedly surfaced that another Administrative Law Judge, William Gitlow, has been allowing attorney [Eric] Conn and his staff to write their clients actual appeal decisions and forward them to Gitlow. A practice that is both unheard of and forbidden by the Office of Disability Adjudication and Reviews 169 offices across the US.
     Unheard of? Forbidden? In 2008, Social Security was encouraging attorneys to write decisions for Administrative Law Judges. I am unaware of any directive forbidding this practice. Other sorts of trial courts routinely require attorneys to draft decisions.

No comments: