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Mystery ALJ Policy Ends April 20, 2013

The Social Security Administration will no longer conceal the identity of the administrative law judge (ALJ) assigned to cases.  This is great news for Social Security claimants and their representatives.  The article originally published by the National Organization Social Security Claimant's Representatives provides a more detailed examination of this policy and its redundancy.

 
Mystery ALJ Policy Ends April 20, 2013

NOSSCR is delighted to report that ODAR will, once again, provide the name of the ALJ assigned to each case beginning April 20, 2013.

Congressional interest in advocating that the policy of non-disclosure of ALJ names be rescinded was very important. We thank all of you who brought this matter to your Congressional delegation.
...
It is clear that successful FOIA litigation increased the pressure to rescind the policy.

The email we received from ODAR follows:

As we discussed this morning, we have reviewed our decision to not disclose the name of the ALJ assigned to hear a case until the day of the hearing. We are making the following changes as a result of our review:
• Beginning on April 20, the agency will resume disclosing the name of the ALJ assigned to a hearing when it sends out a Notice of Hearing. (Note: Under our rules, we must send out this Notice at least twenty days before the hearing, but typically we send it out 60-90 days prior to the hearing.)
• In addition, beginning on April 20, we will add the ALJ's name to the Appointed Representative Services (ARS) internet application. ARS users represent claimants in about 85% of all represented cases currently pending in ODAR.
• We encourage representatives who are not signed up for ARS to ask about registering in their local hearing office. Registered ARS users can access up-to-date electronic folders for their clients, download hearing recordings, and access case status and scheduling information in one convenient location.



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Tiffany T. Woodward
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