By Susan Golden
The Social Security Administration (“SSA”) has problems. Serious problems. Years and years of backlogged claims, analysts who don’t give a damn, inexperienced employees, and Judges who don’t follow the rules. Unfortunately, we have had claimants pass away, while waiting for a decision on their Social Security Disability claim. And there are thousands of people across the country who are dying before their claims have been decided.
We have a client who passed away almost four years ago. He left behind a wife and two children. He filed for Social Security Disability benefits on December 5, 2017. His case, which was supposed to be expedited, went before Judge Carlton at the Bronx Hearing Office on April 12 2019, who erroneously denied the claim, and who took months to make the decision; September 26, 2019 to be exact. We appealed his case to Federal Court. On January 29, 2021, a Federal Court Judge made the decision to remand the case back to Judge Carlton for a new hearing. We immediately sent a letter to Judge Carlton, reminding him the that the claimant had passed away, and that the case was supposed to be expedited, and asked that the hearing be scheduled right away. The remanded hearing wasn’t held until June 9, 2022. At the hearing, we reminded Judge Carlton that there were no new records to submit because the claimant had passed away.
It’s been well over four months since the hearing, and not only has the Judge not made a decision on the claim, he has not even LOOKED at the case since the hearing. We have spoken to supervisors at the Bronx Hearing Office, mailed and faxed letters to the Chief Administrative Law Judge of the Bronx Hearing Office, and have had the claimant’s wife call her local congressman’s office. There has been NO movement at all. How is this even possible? The answer is, there are no consequences or repercussions for Judge Carlton, the Bronx Hearing Office, or the SSA. The way this case has been handled is a disgrace and a travesty. And it’s not the first one and it won’t be the last. No one deserves to be treated like this. Is anyone listening??
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