Apr 29, 2013

ALJ Union Continues To Make Friends And Influence People

     From the opening statement of Representative Sam Johnson (R-TX), the chairman of the House Social Security Subcommittee at a hearing last week:
... I was outraged to learn that the union which represents Administrative Law Judges has just filed a lawsuit in federal court asking for an injunction against Social Security’s guidelines for judges to handle 500 to 700 cases a year.   

The union claims that these goals are “illegal quotas” and that management’s efforts to meet Congress’s and the public’s expectations for timely decisions interfere with judge’s decision-making independence. 


This is the same union that argues that these highly paid federal employees, who have no performance standards and cannot be fired without going through a time-consuming and expensive process, should be allowed to work at home at least one day a week.  


Let me be clear.  No one is telling any judge what decision to make, so their independence is protected.  And despite what the union argues, in FY 2012, 79 percent of judges were hearing at least 500 cases a year.  


Most taxpayers would be surprised to learn that last year the union representing judges spent $1 million in taxpayers’ dollars not on holding hearings, but on union activities.  That’s enough to fund a full year’s salary for nine judges.  


In fact, total taxpayer dollars spent by all four unions at Social Security reached $14.3 million last year, enough to fund a full year’s salary for about 206 employees. 

19 comments:

Anonymous said...

Senators make more than ALJs, waste more money on campaigning for the office, and they have no "performance standards" - Hey Kettle, better watch that glass house you are living in.

Signed, "Pot"

Anonymous said...

Said the congressman who works 130 days per year.

Anonymous said...

Still, I would not complain if they found a way to get rid of AFGE

Anonymous said...

"highly paid federal employees"

Partial disclosure,i'm a former claimant. I can appreciate and have stated in the past that aljs are over paid. Some seem to have a mission to deny as many claims as possible in the name of fiscal responsibility but i have never read anything from any alj about them desiring to reduce their own over paid salary in the name of fiscally responsible.

Anonymous said...

I am sick of these self absorbed ALJ's who think of themselves before they have any consideration for the claimants WHO HAVE PAID THEIR SALARY WHILE THEY WORKED Yes, their salaries come from the FICA tax! The field office employees are doing more, the DDS employees are doing more, but Lord help us if we ask the ALJs to do their job. The work year is 250 days so completing 700 decisions a year is only deciding 3 cases a day. Doesn't the public deserve better than a productivity standard of three cases a day??? This makes me ashamed to admit that I worked for SSA.

Anonymous said...

FICA huh? So SSI claimants can't complain, lol.

Anonymous said...

i agree!!! lets get rid of the ALJ's and go to a state agenct model where they only pay 20% of claims. We can save the SSA trust fund that way!!

Anonymous said...

3 cases a day, eh? Well, that means I can't ever get sick or take a day off, because 250 work days won't permit that.

And,with that little irritant disposed of, then let's see how one decides thee cases per day 250 days per year. Three cases in eight hours gives 2.7 hours per case. If the hearing lasts an hour, that's 1.7 hours to review medical evidence, do instructions, review the decision and esign the thing, which can take a few minutes itself. Someone wants me to have training every quarter? Region sends me emails? The commissioner sends me her report every month? OCALJ wants me to keep up with a new policy? Those mandatory things have to be subtracted from the time I have to spend on a case.

What about Shortcuts? Whose case do you want me to take a shortcut on? Are those folks entitled to know their cases were given a "shortcut."

Grow up

Anonymous said...

@ 5:08pm: Are you referring to Social Security or Supplemental Security Income, cause if you're referring to Social Security, then you're a bit mistaken, SSI means Supplemental Security Income and has since 1972 when then President Nixon signed SSI into law. Oh and SSI is not funded by FICA and it never has been.
http://www.ssa.gov/ssi/

Anonymous said...

Well, since I said "SSI" in the comment, I meant SSI. The person above stated that the ALJ's salaries are paid through FICA, thus they in turn owe their jobs to the claimants (paraphrasing). Since SSI claimants commonly don't work, this indicates they have no grounds for complaints about sub-par ALJs. Hope that's clear enough.

Anonymous said...

"Since SSI claimants commonly don't work, this indicates they have no grounds for complaints"

I'm a DI beneficiary and hope you are not an alj. Ssi beneficiaries absolutely have a right to a full fair hearing incuding complaining about unfair unreasonable aljs particularly if the aljs are over paid, $100,000+

Anonymous said...

Wow, I see that some people's ability to comprehend what they read is not what I expected. You have to read everything, that means all of the responses in the thread, and not just pick one out to comment on arbitrarily. Please go back and read them and if you still believe that what I wrote indicates SSI claimants should have fewer rights, let me know and I can try to "simplify" my response. My otiginal response posed a question.

This, I think, really underscores part of the problem with the world, and America in particular, today. Some people only see what they want to see. Take your time, read through everything, let it digest, then make your comment.

Anonymous said...

Move SSDI back to the original idea, make it more difficult, CAL conditions only. If you can come on here and blog, you can do on line data entry from home at $1000/month or more.

You could eliminate nearly all of ODAR, with a handful of ALJs and staff left to handle CAL like claims that are not as clear. People become responsible for themseleves and thier family. Thats how it was the first 200 years.

Anonymous said...

"data entry from home at $1000/month"

Doesn't that require certain typing speed and or thought speed ability?
Perhaps you need to be more thoughful about presumption of jobs. I'm a beneficiary.

Anonymous said...

Without putting words in your mouth, what are you saying? Are you implying your are neither physically nor mentally capable or performing any work or learning any new skill that would make you employable?

Anonymous said...

BTW, good point here is that when talking about SSDI, $1000.00 is under SGA. So, if a beneficiary who us getting around $1000.00 a month from disability could manage that type of work, monthly income could be doubled. Seems to me that could be helpful in paying expenses. It's not a "magic bullet" but it seems plausible in some cases.

Anonymous said...

"Without putting words in your mouth, what are you saying?"

Actually it's what are you saying?
I have always believed most aljs and people like 9:13 AM, April 30, 2013
apply a quadriplegic brain dead disability standard. For example if claimant is quadriplegic and brain dead then and only then is a claimant disabled. It may be hard to believe for many aljs and the 9:13 AM, April 30, 2013 commenter,but there are other considerations appropriately covering other people,classifying them as disabled. I'm a beneficiary.

Anonymous said...

@ 10:11am: That just makes you a predictable spiteful minority, a teabagger.

Social Security News said...

I think it's time to close this discussion.