Amid complaints about lengthy waits for Social Security disability benefits, congressional investigators say nearly 200 administrative judges have been rubber-stamping claims, approving billions of dollars in lifetime payments from the cash-strapped program. ...
House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., was incredulous that so many judges would rule that initial rejections were so often wrong.
"Are the people below you always wrong?" Issa asked Judge Charles Bridges of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.
"I would say they are not legally trained," replied Bridges, who approved 95 percent of the cases he decided.
When pressed further about his approval rate, Bridges said: "I don't pay attention to those figures. All I do is concentrate on each case, one at a time."
Issa: "You don't notice that you're essentially saying 'approved, approved, approved,' almost all the time?"
Bridges: "I don't want to be influenced by that."
The committee's report found that 191 judges approved more than 85 percent of the cases they decided from 2005 to 2013. All told, those judges approved $153 billion in lifetime benefits, the report said.At some point in the future, I can't say when, Democrats will control the House of Representatives. Should they hold hearings then and browbeat ALJs with low reversal rates?