In July, the President signed an Executive Order effectively eliminating the competitive hiring process for administrative law judges. This decision is likely to alter the future of disability insurance, benefitting the government and harming those looking to submit claims for disability insurance benefits.
About the Order
On July 10, 2018, the White House announced an Executive Order moving the hiring of administrative law judges from “competitive service” to “excepted service.” Since then, politicians, lawyers, and many others in the disability field see the potential for bias and politicization of the position.
To put it simply, instead of requiring these federal Social Security Administrative Law Judges to meet the current standards and prove their skill and knowledge through pre-employment testing, the President and, at his direction, Federal agencies may now appoint judges to these positions. As Social Security lawyers serving Camden, NJ, and the entire Philadelphia region, we at Silver & Silver understand the negative implications the Order is likely to have.
What Critics are Saying
Critics of the Order warn that it is expected to politicize the Administrative Law Judge position and lead to less qualified individuals taking office. As Caroline Frederickson, President of the American Constitution Society explains, “Administrative Law Judges handle Social Security disability cases. This administration is on record as wanting to lessen benefits. It’s likely that a political ALJ appointed by this administration would rule against the beneficiaries and deny claims.”
Disability Insurance, or Disability Income Insurance, and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) are intended to protect an individual in the unfortunate event he or she becomes disabled and unable to complete the necessary core functions of his or her work. While one might think successfully filing for these benefits due to a legitimate disability is simple and straightforward, the reality is that claimants are routinely denied the benefits they need to cope with their condition.
Under the new Executive Order, the Administrative Law Judges who oversee the claims and appeals processes are likely to favor those who appointed them, particularly the Social Security Administration resulting in an increased rate of denied claims and appeals.
There is a bipartisan bill pending to reverse the Order, but whether or not it will pass is uncertain.
To learn more about this Executive Order and how it can affect you, contact Silver & Silver, Philadelphia’s disability and employment attorneys, today.