Unveil the ALJ
In an attempt to prevent forum shopping, the Social Security Administration (SSA) has decided to keep the identity of the ALJ a secret until the day of the hearing. In Colorado Springs, we are now approaching our eighth month of scheduling hearings with an unknown ALJ. While we have discovered methods to help us unveil the identity of the ALJ in advance of the hearing, it would be much more efficient for all involved to be notified of the ALJ at the start. Knowing who your ALJ is before the hearing can help an attorney and a claimant be prepared for the hearing. Each ALJ wants the evidence presented in a slightly different way to help him or her sort and organize the evidence. Knowing this in advance makes the hearing process easier for the attorney, for the client, and for the Judges. It is practically unheard of to keep a Judge’s identity a secret until the day of a hearing in other legal forums. It is unfortunate that the SSA has implemented this policy, and we are hopeful that the policy will one day be reversed.