Thousands of Social Security applicants, who had their disability claims denied, may have their claims re-heard. That will likely happen under the terms of a settlement of a class-action lawsuit that accused several administrative law judges of bias.
The lawsuit alleged that at least 5 administrative law judges in the Queens Social Security office in New York City had presided over claims hearings that made light of many of the serious disabilities that the applicants suffered. Many of the Social Security applicants who appeared before the hearings were made fun of when they recounted their injuries. In some cases, they were insulted so badly that they were driven to tears.
The lawsuit has now resulted in a settlement between the Social Security Administration and the plaintiffs. As part of the terms of the settlement, the Social Security Administration has agreed to remove all 5 administrative law judges from those cases. That means that all of these applicants who had their claims denied will now have the chance to appear before new judges.
As part of the agreement, the judges named in the lawsuit will be retrained. At least one of those judges has already been replaced as chief of the Queens Review board.
As part of the settlement, the Social Security Administration is also likely to enact new policies against bias. The agency has also confirmed that it will establish a new unit that will be dedicated to monitor disability claims over the next 30 months. However, the agency will admit no wrongdoing.
Lisa Siegel is a Social Security disability lawyer helping persons with disabilities in the metro Atlanta region recover their rightful disability benefits. If you are eligible for Social Security, and have had a claim denied, speak with Lisa to learn your rights.