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Can ALJ Approval Percentages Affect Your Case?

ALJ approval percentages (those cases approved by Administrative Law Judges) can vary widely throughout the country.  It is not hard to imagine that when a Claimant is scheduled to have their case heard, one of the first questions that gets asked is, “How is the judge, and are they likely to approve my case?”  Knowing the answer to these questions can often allow targeted case preparation, and may serve to get rid of some of the fear of the unknown that characterizes these hearings.

So what are some ALJ Approval Percentages?

Nationally, Administrative Law Judges awarded benefits in 54.4% of cases between September 30, 2017  and March 30, 2018.  When this number is compared to individual offices though, it is clear that judges at certain offices deny more cases.  As an example, when one looks at the National Hearing Center in Chicago, IL, the judges there awarded benefits in 43.3% of cases.  This is a substantial deviation from the national average, and by extension serves as a reason why video hearings may be a less desirable path for Claimants to follow, even though they may speed waiting times.

In my experience, most judges are professional and genial even if they are not inclined to award benefits.  Though one does not have the opportunity to select the judge that will hear their case, knowing the judge’s history can be helpful, and can inform one’s strategy.  Avoiding video hearings may be advisable if there is a substantial variance between the Hearing Center to which your case will likely be mapped and your local Office of Hearing Operations.

Find information about the ALJ assigned to your case here

Information about ALJ approval percentages is a matter of public record and these ALJ approval percentages can be viewed using the O’Brien & Feiler ALJ Decision Statistics Page.  If you would like to discuss your case with an attorney, please contact O’Brien & Feiler using the form on the left of this page.

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