For some months now Social Security has been trying to withhold the identity of the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) scheduled to hold one of its hearings. This caused a raft of Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuits which the agency could not win. Social Security is now revealing the identity of an ALJ to those who make FOIA requests. I am hearing that the agency has a pending workload of 10,000 FOIA requests and that this is occupying the time of ten employees.
A friend suggested to me that attorneys who represent Social Security claimants shouldn't wait until a hearing is scheduled to request the name of the ALJ. These cases are being assigned to ALJs long before they are scheduled. Why not make the request much earlier?