The Federal Government is no longer going to identify its judges before disabled workers' and their families "day in court." Always leery when people do not identify themselves, the Social Security Administration's ("SSA") decision to no longer identity the Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ") assigned to hear Disability cases is a bad one. The Herndon disability law firm ABRAMS LANDAU received several Hearing Notices this month in cases involving spinal injury, psychiatric illness and chronic disease and none of them had the name of the Federal Judge assigned to our clients' disability claims. This means we cannot send medical records to a particular judge, call their assistant or send our pre-trial brief in the format that they have asked for on previous occasions when we have appeared at trial in Washington D.C., Richmond and Charlottesville Virginia, and other states on the East Coast.
The statistics as to how many cases each judge will approve and deny is now available. And with the electronic sharing of information, the representatives for disabled claimants are able to share notes and find pout which judges are not able to treat people fairly. While most Social Security judges Doug Landau has appeared before are wonderfully prepared, civil and fair, there are a few "bad apples" who are known to be ill-suited for their important judicial role. While Herndon Social Security Lawyer Doug Landau understands that some lawyers were abusing the system by "forum shopping" in order to file cases before more favorable judges, not identifying the decision maker in a disabled worker's all important lifetime benefits case is simply cowardly. This new policy is tacit admission by Social Security that there are some judges who are not in touch with reality and who have such difficulty at Hearings that experienced lawyers and claimants try to avoid them like the plague ! Everyone at ABRAMS LANDAU believes that ALJs should be identified BEFORE the Hearing, and that secrecy in this case has nothing to do with security and everything to do with hiding problem judges that need to be re-assigned, re-trained or simply "RIF'd".