USA Social Security Disability Hearing Offices are officially referred to as Offices of Disability Adjudication and Review (ODAR).
Administrative Law Judges (ALJs) hold hearings at these ODAR offices. ALJ hearings are the third step in the process and second level of appeal in the Social Security disability system.
There are over 160 ODAR hearing offices around the USA and about 1,600 ALJs conducting hearings at these offices. The state of Texas has 8 ODAR hearing offices, and Louisiana has 4 ODAR hearing offices.
What Do the Administrative Law Judges (ALJs) Do?
The ALJ is an employee of the federal government. There are a number of ALJs assigned to any given ODAR office. The ALJ decides if you receive your disability or not based on the statutory law by applying the Five Step Sequential Evaluation to the medical and vocational evidence presented in your hearing.
Most ALJ’s will have read your file before the hearing. The ALJ will likely ask you questions and will also ask questions of any vocational or medical experts present for your hearing. The ALJ is responsible for determining what type of experts should be present for the hearing. The government compensates the experts for their time in appearing at your hearing.
Different ALJs Have Different Approval and Denials Rates
You or your lawyer can present new evidence to the ALJ at the hearing as well. Different ALJs have different approval and denial rates regarding the cases they hear. Another way to say it might be that some of them are more willing to grant a case and some are more likely to deny a case when presented with the same evidence. Thus, which ALJ you have for your hearing impacts your case significantly.
Unfortunately, you don’t get to pick your ALJ and under a recent SSA ruling, you are not informed of which ALJ is hearing your case until the morning of your hearing.
Most good SSD lawyers know the bias’s and tendencies of the ALJs, which is a significant reason that statistics show that ALJs are twice as likely to grant disability to someone represented by a lawyer. It is likely in your best interest to have an experienced SSD lawyer represent you at your hearing.
Texas and Louisiana Social Security Disability Hearing Offices (ODAR)
Which ODAR and ALJ you are assigned to can have a huge impact on the outcome of your case. Marc Whitehead & Associates is providing you with important information below on the ODARs and the ALJ’s approval/denial rates in the states of Texas and Louisiana.
The system can be confusing, but understanding that Administrative Law Judges (ALJs) have different approval rates can prepare you for what you are up against.
Did you know that less than a third of people who file Social Security Disability claims, and who do not have legal representation, succeed in receiving benefits? Statistically, with an attorney representing you the number of successful claims doubles.
For a positive outcome, you need all the information you can get your hands on, including details about the overall approval rates at ODAR offices and the individual ALJs approval/denial rates as well.
What Can You Expect From Social Security Prior to Your Hearing with the ALJ?
When your case has finally reached the point it is referred to an ODAR hearing office, the SSA will notify you by letter that they have received a request for a hearing. At some point, you should get a letter from them informing you of the date/time of your hearing. Unfortunately, you won’t learn much more about your case from these letters.
It is possible you will also receive an exhibit list as well. This exhibit list is simply a list of the documentation in your file. If Social Security does not send you an exhibit list, you should contact them and ask them to send it to you. If any of your medical records are missing, you should request those records from your doctors, hospitals, clinics, etc. so you are sure they get into the record.
Finally, you can request a copy of your records from the SSA in a digital format on a CD-ROM since all records are now kept in a digital format. If you want a printed record, you would have to pay for that. You would then review the file to see if everything in it is accurate from your doctors etc. and/or if they left anything out in what they reported to the SSA, such as a diagnosis or test results.
Preparation and development of good medical and vocational evidence is key to winning an ODAR hearing before an ALJ. Even though there are more than a thousand ALJs, their caseload is so huge that it can take a long time to get a hearing scheduled – sometimes a year or longer! It is good to learn as much as you can about your ALJ and ODAR office.
Follow the links below to learn more about your State or City’s Office of Disability Appeals and Review (ODAR) office and most importantly the decision rates of the AJLs:
Texas and Louisiana ODAR Information
Click on the state name to find overall approval rates at Social Security Disability Hearing Offices (ODAR) and Administrative Law Judge’s overall approval rates:
The experienced attorneys at Marc Whitehead & Associates want to give you the information and answers you need in a way that is clear and easy to grasp, as you’ll find here:
- Do you want to know about Social Security Disability (SSD) Eligibility Requirements or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Eligibility Requirements?
- Interested in learning the Five Step Disability Determination Process used by Social Security to determine if you are eligible?
Marc Whitehead & Associates are attorney advocates for the disabled, using our years of experience to provide help with social security disability claims.
If you want to learn even more, visit one of these pages next:
- Infographic of “The Social Security Disability Appeals Process”
- Infographic of SSD Five Step Sequential Evaluation for Adults
- If you want to see all of our articles, visit our Free Article Index now.
Marc Whitehead & Associates has earned distinction nationally for representing disabled individuals in all 50 states. We know how important it is to thoroughly understand the inner workings of every local ODAR office so that our clients have the best chance of winning their rightful compensation.
View video testimonials from our past clients to find out what they’re saying about their experience with us.