The Approval Rates for Social Security Disability Judges vary widely among judges. Nationally, it varies from a low of 9% to a high of 96%.
In North Carolina, the approval rates vary from a low of 23% to a high of 87%. The national average is an approval rate of approximately 53%.
Clearly, the judge randomly assigned to a disability case is an important factor that influences whether benefits will be awarded. For this reason I have obtained data on the approval rates of each disability judge in North Carolina (see below).
Based on my experience of presenting hundreds of cases to more than 50 different disability judges, I believe the importance of the specific judge assigned to a case is greater in two types of cases.
First, the age of the claimant is very important. I have found that most judges analyze the case of a 56 year old individual with chronic pain due to degenerative disc disease in a very similar manner and usually award benefits. However, the younger the individual is, the greater the variation between the decisions of judges. I attribute this difference to the point of view of judges. For some judges, the lower the age of the claimant, the higher the threshold of proof they require.
Second, whether the claimant has health insurance is very important. The burden of proof is on the claimant who is required to produce medical records that document the severity of the impairments.
Unfortunately, the majority of my clients are uninsured and have limited access to medical treatment. These cases are common and present great challenges to judges who must decide if the claimant is disabled. My assessment is the same in all these cases. I must be convinced the individual cannot work before I will accept a case. That is my primary criteria.
The results I get in these types of cases are informative. I lose these cases with judges who have a low approval rate. I sometimes win these cases with judges who have a high approval rate. I attribute this difference to the weight given to the testimony of the claimant. In my opinion, judges with a low approval rate give little or no weight to the testimony of the claimant. On the other hand, judges with a high approval weight will listen to the testimony and in some cases be persuaded by it.
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To find out the approval rates for all disability judges in Raleigh, North Carolina at the Social Security Administration Office of Hearing Operations (OHO), click here.
To find out the approval rates for disability judges in Greensboro, North Carolina OHO, click here.
To find out the approval rates for disability judges in Fayetteville, North Carolina OHO, click here.
To find out the approval rates for disability judges in Charlotte, North Carolina OHO, click here.
On 12/13/19 the Post and Courier in Charleston, South Carolina wrote an informative article on “Disabled workers in SC roll the dice when drawing judges to decide their benefits.” See Article.
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