May 13, 2013

Meet The New Judge, Same As The Old Judge

     Let's say a claimant has a hearing before Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) X and is denied. The claimant decides not to appeal the decision but to file a new claim. That new claim is denied at the initial and reconsideration levels. The claimant then requests a new hearing. Are there some hearing offices that automatically assign the claimant's case to ALJ X again instead of assigning the case in rotation to whichever ALJ's name comes up? Is this in accordance with Social Security policy? Does it comply with the provisions of the Administrative Procedure Act that requires that cases be assigned in rotation? I'm not talking about remands here but new requests for hearing.
      I thought that a new request for hearing was supposed to be assigned in rotation just like any request for hearing but I am hearing rumors that some hearing offices may take a different approach. Is this actually happening? If so, are these hearing offices supposed to be doing this?

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

it's random...but of course that means it could end back with the same ALJ.

Anonymous said...

Jacksonville, FL ODAR is assigning claimants to the same ALJ

Anonymous said...

I've never had a problem with this with respect to the Charleston, SC ODAR.

I've even had a judge offer to recuse himself when it was randomly assigned back to him on a new application, which seemed quite professional to me.

Anonymous said...

Interesting I suppose. If the ALJ's decision is based soundly of the evidence presented in the current claim it shouldn't matter. If you're alleging bias by the ALJ, that's a different issue and probably not an isiolated incident with that judge.

Anonymous said...

I've been in 3 ODAR offices. Each office tried to NOT assign a subsequent filing to Judge X. Cases sometimes fall through the cracks and in all 3 offices I've been in most ALJ's would ask that the case be reassigned if he/she finds it out soon enough for that. Unfortunately, we often don't find out in time since we review our cases so soon before hearing now. Unless I'm going to pay the subsequent app [which I sometimes do], I generally offer the claimant a postponement and recusal.

galen nikolaidis said...
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Anonymous said...

I think it would clearly violate the HALLEX to either scheduel with the same ALJ on purpose, or intentionally not sceduel with the ALJ.

Our Chief ALJ seems to get a heck of a lot of remand cases where the origional judge is no longer in the office.

Anonymous said...

I think this is just a rumor. Think of the odds, many offices only have 5-10 judges. That's a more than negligible chance of drawing ALJ X again randomly.

Anonymous said...

Some offices assign cases by the last four digits of the SSN. In those offices, subsequent apps will come back to the original judge as a matter of course.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 8:54 AM, May 14, 2013:

We have noticed the same thing regarding remands going to the Chief ALJ, especially Federal Court remands. Are you in Louisiana?

Anonymous said...

No, in South Carolina.

Anonymous said...

It happens all the time at the Greenville SC ODAR. We are objecting on the basis that it is a violation of HALLEX and the APA.