For months, Social Security has been withholding the identity of the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) scheduled to hold a hearing until the day of the hearing. This "secret ALJ" policy is on its last legs. The agency has been unable to defend the "secret ALJ" policy in court -- and I mean literally unable to defend the policy. Social Security has to work through the U.S. Attorneys when it is sued and the U.S. Attorneys are refusing to defend Social Security on Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuits on this issue, not that the agency had much of a defense anyway. Social Security is now revealing the identity of ALJs scheduled to hold hearings to claimants and their attorneys who file FOIA requests. The National Organization of Social Security Claimants Representatives (NOSSCR) advised its members of this fact yesterday afternoon. It can only be anticipated that Social Security's Office of Privacy and Disclosure (which handles FOIA requests) will be deluged with FOIA requests which are easily made online.
Michael Astrue is gone. There is no reason to continue this failed policy a day longer.