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Tucson Social Security Disability Blog

Does Social Security Pressure Judges To Deny Claims?

Posted by John Kuhnlein | Jan 04, 2018 | 0 Comments

One of the fundamental principles of the American judicial system is that judges are fair and impartial.  This applies with as much force in the setting of Social Security disability claims as anywhere else. That is why a recent report from the head of the Association of Administrative Law Judges (AALJ)  alleging that Social Security is unduly interfering with the work of judges is so disturbing.

Serious Allegations By A Judge

Under Pressure?

Judge Marilyn Zahm is the president of AALJ and she has made some distressing statements about the neutrality of ALJ's.(As a quick reminder, ALJ's hear and decide Social Security disability claims.) In an interview with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Judge Zahm said that Social Security definitely pressures ALJ's to deny claims. Per Zahm, the pressure to deny claims greatly increased following the discovery of a scam involving an ALJ in West Virginia that resulted in thousands of questionable favorable decisions.

It is worth remembering that AALJ is a union of sorts and, as such, often in conflict with Social Security over such issues as pay and working conditions.  It is possible that Judge Zahm is making inflammatory allegations to gain an advantage.  That said, most ALJ's are circumspect and hesitant to speak out at all. Judge Zahm surely knew the effect her comments would have.  I suspect she thought carefully before going public with her allegations, I believe her.

Can Claimants Trust The System To Be Fair?

If what Judge Zahm says is true, this is a big problem. It is one thing to lose a Social Security disability claim if the process was fair and legitimate. But, if Social Security disability claimants can no longer believe that the system is

Always Do The Right Thing

untainted by pressure to deny Social Security disability claims, the whole system founders.

Do you believe Judge Zahm? Have you experienced bias by an ALJ?  Let me know. 

About the Author

John Kuhnlein

Since 1992, I have been helping the people of Southern Arizona get the benefits they are due. Before devoting all my efforts to assisting people with Social Security disability claims, I also handled such complex lawsuits as medical malpractice and products liability. I brought to my Social Security cases all the skills and attention to detail that I developed in the courtroom. I approach each Social Security disability case as if it were a million-dollar lawsuit. For the people trying to get Social Security benefits, their claim is every bit as important. Because I have personally handled so many Social Security cases, I have refined the skills I need to win your case for you. I have helped people win cases for every kind of ailment from arthritis to valley fever. At present, I am focused on helping those persons with neurological and orthopedic disorders. Because claims for people over age fifty bring additional complications, I particularly seek out those cases to work on. I regularly write about back and spine conditions on my blog. I actively seek out the latest information about orthopedic and neurological disorders to ensure I can represent my clients as effectively as possible. Because of my current focus, I regret that I am not able to take any cases for mental disorders. If you are over age fifty and suffer from any orthopedic or neurological disorder, please contact me at once.


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John Kuhnlein has been assisting people with Social Security disability claims for the past 25+ years.

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