Wednesday, April 13, 2011

ALJ Bias In Queens

I have addressed the issue of Administrative Law Judges' ("ALJs") bias in the Queens Social Security hearing office on several occasions. The Social Security Administration ("SSA") even implied that my raising the issue of ALJ bias in my blog was untrue and disparaging. However, an article published in today's New York Times validates my opinion.

In "Suit Alleges Bias in Disability Denials by Queens Judges," Sam Dolnick wrote that the Queens hearing office, "is well known to lawyers, judges and many other New Yorkers as an inhospitable place to seek benefits." The article cites statistics and comments from the same sources as my blog entries to demonstrate the aberrantly high denial rate for ALJs David Z. Nisnewitz, Michael D. Cofresi, Seymour Fier, Marilyn P. Hoppenfeld and Hazel C. Strauss.

Jim Walden is the attorney bringing the class action against the ALJs. The lawsuit seeks to bar the five ALJs from hearing any more claims, and to annul all their decisions since 2005 to deny benefits. My blog entries have asked how is it possible that Queens ALJs repeatedly make the same errors. Likewise, Mr. Walden said that the Queens ALJs “make the same legal and factual errors again and again.” Succinctly, Mr. Walden said that, “It is routine and systemic, and it shows you the fix is in.”

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