Possible Changes on the Horizon for Social Security Hearing Process

Erich Wagner delves into issues with proposed changes to Social Security Rules in the cited article titled, “Administrative Law Judges: Proposed Social Security Rule Would Violate Law, Supreme Court Decision” posted by govexec.com. Last month the Social Security Administration (herein SSA) proposed a new Rule that would allow for SSA’s appeal judges to take lower level cases. The reason for this proposed change in regulation argues that this would allow cases to be heard sooner, and make the entire process quicker. While this change seem beneficial to Social Security applicants as well as the agency itself, it is potentially illegal according to the Associations of Administrator Law Judges.

The conflict with appeal judges overseeing low level cases for the SSA is that appeal judges are judiciously independent from the agency. This means that technically, this process would derive the Social Security applicants a right to a full evaluation as stated under the statute. The change in regulation has not been confirmed or denied at this point but could have major impacts if it is passed.