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It is not unusual for a Social Security Disability claimant to have to wait two years before an Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) hears the case. One way the Social Security Administration is trying to reduce the backlog is the Senior Attorney Adjudicator program. The purpose of the initiative is to allow certain attorney advisors to issue fully favorable on-the-record (“OTR”) decisions to expedite the decisions, and conserve ALJ resources for the more complex cases and cases that require a hearing.
The chances of having an OTR approved, which at many hearing offices is now the province of Senior Attorney Adjudicators, is by explaining why the decision is not a complicated one that requires a hearing. This can be accomplished by showing that the application must be approved because the claimant meets a Medical-Vocational rule that requires a finding of disability. I received a fully favorable OTR decision today from a Senior Attorney Adjudicator that illustrates this point.
I represent a 53 year old former elementary school crossing guard, which is light, unskilled work, with an 8th grade education. A Medical-Vocational rule requires finding such a person disabled, even if they are capable of performing sedentary work. In other words, the medical evidence would have to show that the claimant is capable of performing at least light work, which among other things, requires the ability to lift up to 20 pounds occasionally and 10 pounds frequently, and stand or walk for 6 hours during an 8-hour workday. Citing evidence that indicated the claimant could not even do full time sedentary work made it an uncomplicated case.Previous Next
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