Very little news coverage was dedicated to the Executive Order signed by President Trump on July 20, 2018. The Executive Order could directly impact future SSDI cases. If you are applying for SSDI or your loved one is applying for SSDI, you should consult a New York social security disability claims lawyer to discuss your claim and how an attorney might help you with your claim.
Before we explain the procedures that the order changed, it is important to understand how judges who decide SSDI cases were chosen before the order. To ensure that candidates have the necessary experience and qualifications to serve as an administrative law judge, the Administrative Procedure Act (1946) established a merit-based system for choosing administrative law judges. A factor in determining whether a candidate was chosen for a position as an administrative law judge was the person’s scores on detailed exams.
The President’s Executive Order eliminates the vetting process for administrative law judges. Instead of having at least seven years of experience as an attorney and qualifying based on the merit system principles, the Executive Order only requires applicants to be a licensed attorney.
Many people fear that the new procedure may be abused to appoint judges based on political motives or political ideology. If this is the case, it could lead to decisions in SSDI cases being biased or inaccurate given the evidence in the case. Social Security claimants could be impacted significantly because the majority of administrative law judges hear Social Security cases. If the new hiring process causes issues, many people who have been waiting over two years for a hearing may wait even longer. In addition, if a claimant’s case is heard by a judge appointed for reasons other than experience and a thorough vetting process, the decisions could be anything by fair and impartial.
The Administration claims that the Executive Order was necessary because of a June Supreme Court decision in the case of Lucia v. SEC. In a 6 to 3 vote, the majority of justices ruled that the procedure used to hire administrative law judges, including the judges that decide SSDI cases, was unconstitutional. The Supreme Court case states that administrative law judges must now be appointed by the President, the head of a federal agency, or a court. Some experts believe the Executive Order is too broad given the specific findings in the Supreme Court ruling.
We will be watching the matter as it plays out when new administrative law judges are appointed. In a letter to the U.S. House of Representatives, the president of the American Bar Association asks lawmakers to take measures to ensure these changes do not take place.
Call our New York SSDI lawyers now to learn how we can help you get the benefits you are entitled to receive. The process to receive SSDI claims can be complex. You need a New York SSDI lawyer to help you navigate the system and to ensure your legal rights are protected.