Randall Frye, the President of the Association of Administrative Law Judges (AALJ), the union that represents Social Security's ALJs, has an op ed piece in today's New York Times that tries to use the recent fraud allegations in New York City to promote a longstanding AALJ proposal to make Social Security's hearings adversarial.
There are a couple of simple reasons why adversarial hearings aren't coming to Social Security. First, they would cost a lot of money. Second, and more important, it's been tried before and it didn't have any effect that anyone could claim was beneficial. The same people were bring approved and denied.
If you think I oppose adversarial hearings out of fear for what they would do to my practice, you're wrong. My clients would still win at the same rate and my fees would go up significantly because adversarial hearings would subject Social Security to the Equal Access to Justice Act (EAJA), which would shift the attorney fee burden to the Social Security Administration itself in most cases. I oppose adversarial hearings because they are a bad idea. What the agency needs is increased funding so it can deal with its serious backlogs. Almost everything else is a distraction.