I represent a claimant applying for Social Security Disability (“SSD”) benefits with severe mental problems. One manifestation of those mental problems is that the claimant became suicidal. As a result, I requested an expedited hearing, which was granted.
The claimant’s hearing was held today at the Jericho hearing office. As is typical, the administrative law judge (“ALJ”) listened to the vocational and medical evidence. However, unlike the overwhelming vast majority of the time, the ALJ advised the claimant at the close of the hearing that he was approving his SSD application.
The ALJ did the right thing twice. Not only did he schedule an expedited hearing, but after determining that the claimant was disabled, the ALJ did not make the claimant wait to receive the hearing decision to learn his fate, which can take a substantial amount of time afterwards.
By contrast, even though I repeatedly advised one of the five named ALJs from Queens in the Padro bias class action that my client was suicidal, he refused my request to be scheduled first in the day, and instead, scheduled her last, made her wait hours, and then told her the hearing would be adjourned to another day because it was too late in the day for him to hear her case. The result was that my client had a complete mental breakdown, and had to be taken away by New York Fire Department EMT.